It may have been a good news story for British conservationists with the proposed re-introduction of the short-haired bumblebee to Kent. But there is growing anger in Sweden that their population of the species may be put under risk by the project.
It’s not just locals who are concerned about the British scientists heading out this weekend to start the collection of 100 queen bees. Important conservationists from Skane are concerned over the plans and some have claimed that there has been no local consultation over the plans.
Skania region Environmental Director is quoted as saying “If they succeed, we will barely have any left” (google translated) in the daily newspaper DN.se.
Annelie Johansson, Environmental Director at the County Administrative Board in Skåne said, “Picking the 100 queen bumble bees here is a great risk that we end up in the same situation as in the UK, to become extinct.“
Local and regional authorities are concerned that they have no power to halt the collection of the bees because they are not listed as endangered in the country.
“The only thing we can do is try to get hold of them, to appeal to them and getting them to understand how inappropriate it is to impoverish this species’ existence in Scania“, says Annelie Johansson.
The recently retired head of the Natural History Museum in Sweden, Lars-Ake Janzon, thinks that friendly appeals are not enough and accuse the British scientists of acting like imperialists going around and just taking stuff that they want. He questions their conservation ethic by imposing substantial pressure on a bee species that is in decline in Sweden.
He suggests that the UK Research Council should examine the plans to remove 100 queen bees from Sweden to determine it suitability.
With the growing discontent of major players in the Swedish conservation movement including leading authority figures questions have to be asked over just how much discussion has taken place between the British scientists and their Swedish counterparts.
Comments from our previous story has also shown concern over the lack of consultation and the threat to the Swedish population of bees.
With the scientists due to fly out tomorrow (Sunday) there’s not just field work but a whole lot of relationship repairing to do.
Update 6th June 2013:
Sadly it appears that the transplanted bees from Sweden failed to make it through the first year and more bees are now being imported to try and re-establish the local UK population again.
Within a short time of the bees being released the weather changed and last summer poor weather and long cold winter and spring this year means few if any of the introduced bees have survived for a second season.
DN.se Skånska bees risk of extinction. (in Swedish but you can use an online translator).