Tragedy for 30 Million Bees from Sardinian Wildfires
Approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) on the island of Sardinia, Italy, has gone up in flames already, destroying olive groves, wildlife, forests, farms, and vineyards. Over 1,500 people have had to evacuate their homes.
So far 30 million bees have died and 500 beehives, mainly on the western side of the island, have suffered extensive damage from the wildfires.
The fires began on July 24 in Oristano province. Some environmentalists and agronomists believe that it could take as long as 15 years for replenishment and new growth in the woodland areas.
This 1:36-minute video by euronews gives us an idea of how devastating the wildfires in Sardinia are:
Locally raised honeybees as well as native wild bees in the area are affected by this devastating inferno. These insects play fundamental roles in maintaining biodiversity and agriculture on the island as well as in the whole of Europe.
These bees are responsible for pollination. The president of Italian environmentalist association Legambiente Sardegna, Annalisa Columbu, said that a fire like this can adversely affect the number of bees available for pollination. Bees are responsible for 76% of the food crops in Europe.
Fire fighting planes were dispatched by EU countries Greece and France to help extinguish the fires, but strong, hot winds have hampered their efforts, fanning the flames instead.
A fundraising campaign to help beekeepers has been launched, called “Save the Queen.” There is hope that the proceeds will fund a bee repopulation in the territory. A donation of €10 provides 3,000 bees, and a donation of €80 makes 24,000 bees available.
The regional government is being urged to take a census of the damage so they can compensate farmers and breeders.
According to Legambiente Sardegna, Cagliari’s agronomists’ association, they estimate that the losses from these wildfires could amount to €1 billion.
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