Rare bee, squirrel could get US help, not Yellowstone bison

A bison moves through the snow in Yellowstone National Park. (Shutterstock)

By MATTHEW BROWN Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. wildlife officials will consider more protections for a tiny, endangered squirrel species and bees that pollinate rare desert flowers, but not for the well-known bison herds of Yellowstone National Park.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday said more habitat may be needed to ensure the survival of the Mount Graham Red squirrel. An estimated 75 remain in the Pinaleno Mountains of western Arizona after fires and development have shrunk their range.

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The Mojave poppy bee of Nevada faces potential threats from grazing, gypsum mining, recreation and competition from honeybees. Its survival is closely linked to two rare desert poppy flowers in the Mojave Desert.

The decision on bison rejects a petition to declare Yellowstone’s 4,500 bison as a distinct population that warrants special protections.

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