Species Champion asks Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to lend political support to the protection of Scotland’s threatened wildlife by becoming ‘Species Champions.’ The project is supported by the LINK Nature Advocacy Officer, Juliet Caldwell supporting the LINK’s Wildlife Group in the development of the initiative. Juliet can be contacted via email here.
At present, 105 MSPs have become Species Champions.
Craig Macadam, LINK Vice Chair, convener of LINK Wildlife Group and Director of Buglife Scotland, said, “When did you last look for creepy-crawlies under a stone? How many of Scotland’s 93,000 species could you name? We’re looking for champions to rekindle our excitement about nature’s diversity and our understanding of its importance to our health, wealth and wellbeing. MSPs will learn about how they can contribute to the conservation of their species in parliament and by supporting practical action in the community.”
Graeme Dey MSP, Species Champion for Woolly willow and Alpine-blue sow thistle, said “I would encourage all of my MSP colleagues, the relatively new and longer serving ones, to get involved in this programme. Not only is it highlighting a hugely important subject matter. It is also good fun!’’
MSPs are learning about their species and about the pressures on their species and its habitat, such as such as habitat loss or fragmentation, the impact of invasive non native species, climate change and pollution from expert member organisations of Scottish Environment LINK. They are working to provide a brighter future for these species, spread that knowledge throughout Scotland’s political community and shape policy to promote and secure biodiversity.
This Scottish Environment LINK initiative was first launched in 2013, and by 2016 had achieved a parliamentary majority of Champions. Following the elections in May 2016, Species Champions was re-launched and now over 80% of the chamber are Species Champions. It has inspired similar programmes in Wales, Northern Ireland and England as well as Scottish local authorities.