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Bumblebees might be the next victims of mass extinction

Scientists warn that the drastic decline in bumblebee population across North America and Europe will eventually lead to the mass extinction of the species. And like many of the issues that our planet is facing, the cause behind this is global warming. As temperatures steadily get hotter and weather extremes become more frequent, the bumblebee species’ chance of survival is declining at a rapid pace.

A study measured the likelihood of survival for the bumblebee population in any given region. The results suggest that this has declined to 30 percent over the course of a single generation. Researchers found that this rate of decline seems to be “consistent with a mass extinction”.

The lead author behind the study, Peter Soroye is a PhD student at the University of Ottawa. “We found that populations were disappearing in areas where the temperatures had gotten hotter. If declines continue at this pace, many of these species could vanish forever within a few decades,” he told The Guardian.

The research team used data gathered in the last 115 years on 66 species of bumblebees in North America and Europe. This was then used to create a model to simulate scenarios of “climate chaos.” Through the model, researchers were able to tell how the bumblebee populations have declined over the years.

And this is news that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The human population depends on bumblebees as they play a key role in the pollination of crops such as berries, squash, and tomatoes. The research — published in the journal Science — can be used to predict risks of extinction and determine areas where prompt conservation practices are necessary.