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Lost bumblebee returns to UK

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 12:55

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: A species of bee known as the ‘bumblebee’, which had disappeared from the English countryside almost a quarter of a century ago has been reintroduced to UK.

Conservationists were able to collect around 100 short-haired bumblebees (Bombus subterraneus) from across Sweden, while around 50 of the healthiest were released at the RSPB`s Dungeness reserve in Kent.

The short-haired bumblebee, which was last found in the UK in the Dungeness area in 1988, was officially declared extinct in 2000 following a decline over the past 60 years due to loss of habitat.

This time, conservationists turned to a healthy population of the bee living in the southern Swedish province of Skane after their previous efforts to transport queens from other countries to the UK failed in 2009, when the bees died before they made it out of quarantine.

RSPB conservation director Martin Harper said: "We have put a lot of work here recreating flower meadows which are vital if we are going to bring bumblebees back to our countryside.

"This area was the last place the short-haired bumblebee was recorded before it disappeared 24 years ago, so it is very exciting to see it finally coming home.

"But this is just the start - we will all be working hard to make sure this, and other threatened bumblebee species, expand their ranges and recolonise south eastern England."

Dr Nikki Gammans, the project officer, said that reintroducing species into the UK had worked in the past with the red kite and the large blue butterfly. "It`s a really exciting new scientific procedure, something which hadn`t been attempted before with bumblebees," she said. "It`s very exciting for the bee species to get a second chance."

With Agency inputs

First Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 12:55

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