Posts Tagged Reintroduction

Short-haired Bumblebee Nests in Dungeness


17 September 2013 Last updated at 01:57 GMT

A species of bee reintroduced to the UK after becoming extinct has nested for the first time in a quarter of a century.

The short-haired bumblebee started dying out in Britain in the 1980s and officially became extinct in 2000.

A reintroduction project saw queen bees brought over from Sweden.

After two releases of queens at the RSPB’s Dungeness reserve in Kent, offspring worker bees have been recorded there for the first time.

Short-haired bumblebees were once widespread across the south of England but declined as their wildflower rich grasslands disappeared.

Nikki Gammans, who leads the project, said: “This is a milestone for the project and a real victory for conservation.

“We now have proof that this bumblebee has nested and hatched young and we hope it is on the way to become a self-supporting wild species in the UK.

‘Fantastic reward’

“It’s been a long journey to get here, from creating the right habitat for them, collecting queens in the Swedish countryside, scanning them for diseases and then eventually releasing them at Dungeness.

“Seeing worker bees for the first time is a fantastic reward for all that hard work but we still have a long way to go to ensure this population is safe and viable.”

A first generation of queens, which were released last year, struggled in the summer’s cold, wet conditions.

But a second release of queens from Sweden bolstered the colony.

The reintroduction project has involved work with farmers to create flower-rich meadows in Dungeness and Romney Marsh which have also boosted the numbers of other threatened bumblebees.

Further releases are planned to help build the population at Dungeness.

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What’s Up, Skip?

There are only 12 of you (Victorian brush-tailed rock wallabies) left in the wild in Gippsland, and your friends in the Grampians went extinct in 1999. That’s no good.

What’s that? Some people reintroduced some captive bred wallabies there a few years ago. Great. How did it go?

That’s a shame. They are almost all dead. Why is that?

They didn’t release enough of them because the geneticists would only allow Victorian brush-tailed rock wallabies to go out. But aren’t you genetically different from the New South Wales rock wallabies?

Oh, they may be genetically different but look exactly the same, and you would be more than happy to breed with them given half the chance. It must be a bummer to be so endangered, no one to talk to and no chance of filling your ecological niche. Is there anything we can do to help?

I see. Release a ton of wallabies from New South Wales because it’s surely better to have some wallabies hopping about the bush doing their thing than none at all. I know you’ve never been a racist and we shouldn’t be either. Sound words of wisdom, Skip. After all any endangered species is no use to anyone in captivity and we all know how tough it is trying to make a living in the wild. You need a lot of animals if enough are to survive and establish permanent colonies.

No worries, Skip. I’ll pass the message on and hope for the best. Good luck to you and your friends. I suspect you’ll need it.

And Sonny’s trapped in the ravine? Okay, I’ll let ranger headquarters know.

Dr. F. Bunny


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