2 Jun 2009

NZ bumblebees to repopulate UK

4:01 pm on 2 June 2009

A bumblebee which is extinct in the United Kingdom is to be reintroduced from New Zealand.

The short-haired bumblebee was exported from the UK to New Zealand on the first refrigerated lamb boats in the late 19th century to pollinate clover crops.

It was last seen in the UK in 1988 but populations on the other side of the world have survived.

Now Natural England and several other conservation groups have launched a scheme to bring the species home.

As many as 100 will initially be collected and flown to the UK where they will be bred and eventually released in Kent, where they were last seen.