South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has been nominated as a Nature Champion by Scottish Environment LINK at last week’s launch event.
The South Scotland MSP will champion two species unique to South Scotland – the Natterjack Toad and the Native Oyster.
The MSP joined fellow colleagues at the Scottish Environment LINK online launch event of the Nature Champions initiative last Thursday (3 June).
The initiative has been developed by LINK to encourage Members of the Scottish Parliament to champion endangered or iconic species and priority habitats, raising awareness and promoting action to restore and safeguard Scotland’s environment.
With one in nine species at risk of national extinction, political support for restoring and protecting Scotland’s natural environment has never been more critical.
There are currently 105 MSP champions, representing 80% of the Chamber representing species. Nature Champions have the opportunity to meet and learn about their species and habitats on site visits, participate in conservation work and stand up for nature in parliament.
The Nature Champions initiative shines the spotlight on species and habitats by encouraging MSPs to work together with environmental organisations and other MSPs, for the benefit of Scotland’s natural environment.
Emma Harper MSP, Nature Champion for Natterjack Toad, said;
“I’m delighted to continue to support the Natterjack Toad and the native Oyster as a Nature Champion.
“Last month I highlighted this special, rare toad on Endangered Species Day by raising a motion in parliament to obtain political support for its continued protection. I have also raised a motion in parliament just last week to highlight the successful funding for Stranraer Oyster Festival which is going ahead in 2022 and has secured funding from Event Scotland through the Scottish Government as well as local authority support of £15,000. I’ve previously hosted a visit to the festival with Rural Minister, Mairi Gougeon helping to promote my South Scotland region which is home to beautiful Loch Ryan and Scotland’s oldest and finest Native Oysters, with the oyster beds dating as far back as 1701.
“I am proud to represent the South Scotland region which is home to the Natterjack Toad which can be found on the Solway Coast – the only place in Scotland where you will find this species. During the last parliamentary session, I took an active role in promoting the region’s biodiversity and unique environment, supporting the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and hosting the Nature of Scotland Awards at the Scottish Parliament as well as inviting and hosting many ministers to visit the region.
“The Natterjack population in the Solway Firth has seen an impressive increase in numbers thanks to the fantastic habitat management put in place at RSPB Mersehead.
As part of the commitment the Scottish Government will invest an additional £500 million into the natural economy to help tackle the biodiversity crisis.