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The old man and the bee

Dr. Robbin Thorp holding a specimen of Franklin’s bumble bee. Photo:

“We’re entering the Earth’s sixth era of extinction — and it’s the first time humans are to blame. CNN introduces you to the key species and people who are trying to prevent them from vanishing.” —

The search for Franklin’s bumblebee (Bombus franklinii) if finally getting the national attention it deserves through CNN’s “Vanishing: The Earth’s 6th mass extinction” video series. In one video from the series, CNN reporter John D. Sutter follows preeminent bee researcher, Dr. Robbin Thorp, as he searches for Franklin’s bumble bee on Mt. Ashland in the Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon.

The old man and the bee: View the video and read more here.

The renowned floral diversity of the Siskiyou Mountains gives rise to an amazing diversity of native bee species; in fact, northwest California and southwest Oregon has the highest diversity of bumble bee species of anywhere in the world.  Preserving the botanical diversity of the region is paramount for the protection of wild bees and pollinators. “Anthony Barnosky, an expert on this from Stanford University, told me humans have about 20 years max to shape up before this mass extinction becomes inevitable. And by mass extinction he means three-quarters of all known species would be lost. Franklin’s bumblebee should be a wake-up call — a window into a dystopian future. It certainly was for me.” — John D. Sutter for

The old man and the bee: View the video and read more here.