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Nearly half of Swiss bee species on endangered ‘red list’

A wild bee is shown sitting on a cherry blossom.
Bad news for bees: an (endangered?) bee on a cherry blossom in Switzerland. Keystone/Gaetan Bally

Some 45% of native wild bee species are endangered, due to an insufficient number of flowers for collecting pollen and nectar and a lack of nesting sites.

On the other hand, several species considered extinct 30 years ago have reappeared in the country: as a result of climate change, some warmth-loving wild bees are making Switzerland their home for the first time or again after a long time, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) said on Friday. 

The situation of bees in Switzerland is similar to in countries like Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, the FOEN added. Richly structured and widely utilised areas in the Jura mountain and the Alps are home to a wealth of species which is exceptional even at European level. The restoration and maintenance of national biotopes such as dry meadows also contribute to this. 

+ The Swiss Alps are beautiful, but are they biodiverse?

The updated ‘Red List of Bees’ is the second of its kind and replaces a 1994 compendium. To compile it, 615 bee species were assessed, of which 279 (45.4%) were placed on the Red List, while 59 (9.6%) were found to be already extinct in Switzerland. Of the species on the Red List, 40% are considered vulnerable, 30% are severely endangered and just under 10% are critically endangered. 

These figures are in line with those from the first Red List, wrote the FOEN. A direct comparison between the studies is not possible, however, due to the broader database of the updated list. 

Adapted from German by DeepL/kc,dos

This news story has been written and carefully fact-checked by an external editorial team. At SWI swissinfo.ch we select the most relevant news for an international audience and use automatic translation tools such as DeepL to translate it into English. Providing you with automatically translated news gives us the time to write more in-depth articles. 

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