Back in 2008 we started planning the return of the short-haired bumblebee Bombus subterraneus, a species last seen in the UK at Dungeness in 1988 and declared extinct in 2000. We have searched every year for this insect since the late 1990s and considerable effort has been devoted to restoring legume-rich pasture, first at the RSPB reserve, and then across Romney Marsh. Initially plans to bring back New Zealand bees, descended from British insects, failed because the insect was difficult to breed in captivity and also very inbred. However the project was thrown a lifeline by Swedish entomologists who reported the healthiest population of this insect in Europe. Otherwise it is highly endangered across the continent due to loss of wild flower-rich pastures.
This was one of the first specimens I