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LONDON (Reuters) - A British environmental group is seeking the public's help to monitor the health of the country's bee population in a bid to reverse declining numbers.
The initiative, organised by environmental group Friends of the Earth and dubbed the Great British Bee Count, requires participants to download a smartphone app, which they can use to report sightings of different kinds of bees.
This information will then be collated by scientists, and the group aims to use their data to help policymakers reduce the decline, by making it available to the government's national pollinator monitoring scheme, scheduled to begin next year.
"Britain’s are under threat, with around 35 UK species considered to be under threat of extinction, from loss of habitats, pesticides and intensive farming," Friends of the Earth Chief Executive Craig Bennett said in a statement.
"Our bees aren't just an iconic sign of a British summer, they are vital for pollinating much of the food we enjoy every day."
The group hopes that the bee count will be able to assist in determining how climate change, toxic pesticides and habitat loss impact bee numbers distribution across the country.
The Great British Bee Count is taking place until June 30.
Reporting by Lucy Fielder; Writing by Mark Hanrahan; Editing by Alison Williams