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Bees make US endangered-species list for first time

Here's something to buzz about. For the first time, the US Fish and Wildlife Service protects bees.

Hawaiian bees just got federal protected status.
Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Looks like bees are finally getting the respect they deserve. Seven species of yellow-faced bees native to Hawaii have been given endangered status by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

These are the first bees in the country to be protected under the Endangered Species Act, notes the Xerces Society, a wildlife conservation nonprofit.

A United Nations-sponsored report released in February found that about 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species (such as bees and butterflies) are facing extinction. You don't have to be a bee expert to know this has implications for our future food supply considering "about 75 percent of the world's food crops...depend at least partly on pollination."

This new protection status for bees "will allow authorities to implement recovery programs, access funding and limit their harm from outside sources," Gregory Koob from the Fish and Wildlife Service told the Associated Press.

In addition to the yellow-faced bees, the US Fish and Wildlife Service added other species from Hawaii to the endangered-species list, including the band-rumped storm-petrel, the orangeblack damselfly and the anchialine pool shrimp. It also added 39 plant species under a new ruling that goes into effect on October 31.