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Attempt to reintroduce bee species to UK sparks outrage in Sweden

British threat to Swedish bees

Published söndag 29 april 2012 kl 12.08
Photo: Jimmy May/Scanpix

A bee species in southern Sweden is in danger of extermination at the hands of British researchers, say outraged environmentalists and officials.

The researchers are reportedly travelling to Sweden today to collect a hundred queen bees from the short-haired bumblebee species which has died out in the UK.

“The short-haired bumblebee is becoming more and more rare here,” Skåne's county board environmental director, Annelie Johansson, told news agency TT.

“If they take a hundred queen bees we may end up in the same situation as the UK - with the species wiped out.”

The species, also known as Bombus Subterraneus, is not protected by any environmental law so there is very little Swedish authorities can do to prevent them being collected by foreign researchers.

“The only thing we can do is plead with them and get them to understand how inappropriate it is to threaten this species’ existence in Skåne,” said Johansson.

However biologist Lars-Åke Janzon, had stronger words for the British team.

“They no longer dominate the world like before when they just went around and took things,” he told TT, adding that the ethics of the project should be examined by UK authorities.

“Now they have to show respect for countries they go to.”

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