Species Champions

Scotland

The Species Champions Initiative was launched by Scottish Environment LINK’s Wildlife Forum in January 2013 and continues to invite all Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to choose from a list of species that are currently facing significant threats to their future – and then champion their survival. Click here for more information about the Initiative.

Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart (Lab) chose the Great yellow bumblebee. This species has had its fair share of ups and downs in recent years, but our Thurso: Gateway to the Great Yellow project is making new steps towards achieving sustainable habitat creation and restoration across Caithness, one of the last strongholds of the Great yellow. With help from David Stewart MSP, we were able to get the message out to a far wider range of people.

Bumblebee Conservation Trust has two further Species Champions in Scotland: Colin Beattie MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh (SNP) championing the Garden bumblebee, and Graham Simpson MSP for Central Scotland (Cons) championing the Bilberry bumblebee.

England

The English Species Champions Initiative invites Members of Parliament (MPs) to lend their political support to the protection and promotion of threatened wildlife by becoming ‘Species Champions’ for a species selected by conservation charities as relevant to their constituency or interests.

The support that the MP lends includes:

  1. Raising awareness of the species and threats to it and relating this to the development of public policy and legislation.
  2. Taking opportunities to highlight their species during Parliamentary business.
  3. Working collaboratively with the conservation charity assigned to the species to inform and support them in their work.
Gill Perkins and Daniel Zeichner MP

Gill Perkins, Bumblebee Conservation Trust CEO takes Daniel Zeichner MP on a bumblebee hunt.

The overall objective of the Species Champions project is to improve the wellbeing of specific threatened species within the UK. It also offers partner organisations the opportunity to establish closer relationships with MPs and to encourage more MPs to speak up for nature in Parliament.

Bumblebee Conservation Trust currently has three Species Champions in England: Claire Perry MP for Devizes (Cons) championing the Broken-belted bumblebee, Daniel Zeichner MP for Cambridge (Lab) championing the Ruderal bumblebee, and Thangam Debbonaire MP for Bristol West (Lab) championing the Shrill carder bee.

Each MP has received a fact sheet about their bumblebee and will be encouraged to visit areas where the bumblebee may be found and learn more about them.

Wales

The Species Champion initiative in Wales was launched on 15th June 2016, and continues to invite all Assembly Members (AMs) to choose a species which is present in the area they represent, and which is facing significant threats to their future. The aim is to raise the profile of Welsh nature in the Welsh Assembly. Click here for more information about the initiative.

Bumblebee Conservation Trust currently has two Species Champions in Wales: Leanne Wood AM for Rhondda and leader of Plaid Cymru championing the Bilberry bumblebee, and Steffan Lewis AM for South Wales East (Plaid) championing the Shrill carder bee.

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