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Plight of the Bumblebee

1st February 2013

Photograph of Plight of the Bumblebee

Last week David Stewart signed up to Scottish Environment LINK’s ‘Wildlife Proclamation’ to become a wildlife champion. By signing up Mr Stewart is promising to work with the organisation to make Scotland and the Highlands and Islands a better place for wildlife.

MSPs that signed the Proclamation were allowed to pick from a list of animals and plants under threat to champion throughout the Parliamentary year. Mr Stewart volunteered to be a Species Champion for the Great yellow bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus).

The Highlands and Islands are now the only place Great yellows can be found, with the last mainland populations remaining in Caithness and Sutherland. Unfortunately the distribution of the Great yellow has declined by 80% in the last century making it one of the UK’s rarest bumblebees.

The decline in population is due to the loss of flower-rich meadows and the intensification of farming and grazing practices. As a result the current distribution of the Great yellow reflects areas of flower-rich machair and locations where traditional crofting practices are still maintained.

The pledge states that the member promises that they will ‘endeavour to retain the colour, variety and vitality of Scotland by conserving wildlife and restoring habitats.’ The proclamation also caries four statements;

Scotland’s wildlife and landscape defines who we, the people of Scotland, are.

Investing in the conservation of our wildlife today secures a sustainable environment on which our cultural and economic future depends.

Conserving wildlife is an effective way to build Scotland’s resilience to climate change.

Parliament should scrutinise the delivery of wildlife conservation to ensure its success.

Mr Stewart commented “During the Year of Natural Scotland it is important that we take the time to reflect on our environment and ensure that future generations are able to experience the Scotland we know and love”.

Mr Stewart continued “Scotland’s wildlife is known and respected the world over, bringing millions of pounds in tourism each year, including across the Highlands & Islands and in the role as elected representatives we must do all we can to encourage the protection and restoration of our local habitats and wildlife.”

Great Yellow Champion, Mr Stewart has recently put down a motion in the Scottish Parliament (S4M-05531) applauding the initiative and those MSPs who have put themselves forward as Species Champions.

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