American Burying Beetles American Burying Beetle Project The American burying beetle (ABB) once ranged throughout the Central and Eastern United States as well as the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. ABBs now inhabit only 10% of their historic range. The reasons for their decline include habitat degradation, the extinction of the passenger pigeon and increased competition for prey from mammalian scavengers. In 1986, the IUCN designated ABBs as endangered and a short time later the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated a project to save the species from extinction. The idea was to collect a limited number of beetles from the wild, establish a population in zoos and eventually reintroduce ABBs to their former habitats.