Clwyd West AM Darren Millar is the Species Champion for the Red Squirrel and supported the ‘Show the Love’ campaign at the Senedd on Valentine’s Day on Wednesday, an event organised by Wales Environment Link and Stop Climate Chaos Cymru.
‘Craftivists’ from RSPB Cymru made a bespoke green heart badge with a Red Squirrel for Darren with a personalised message, asking him to keep protecting the species.
Environmental charities have promoted ‘Show the Love’ for the last few years to raise awareness of climate change and highlight that everyone loves something that is threatened by it. Action needs to be taken to protect what we love, before it’s too late.
“I am delighted to be a Species Champion for Red Squirrels, one of our most loved native animals. These beautiful creatures were once common throughout Wales, but there are now only three main populations remaining one being in my constituency in Clocaenog Forest, the other two being Anglesey and Mid Wales.
“Smaller pockets may persist but their long-term future is unknown. I will continue doing all I can to protect this threatened species.”
In the Assembly, over 30 AMs act as Species Champions for at-risk species in Wales. Wales Environment Link (WEL) members partner AMs up with species in their constituencies that are considered, under the Environment Act, to be of key significance to sustain and improve biodiversity in Wales.
Since the Environment Act came into force in 2016, the Welsh Government must take all reasonable steps to maintain and enhance these species and the habitats they need to survive. WEL’s Species Champions are taken on site visits to try and see their species – which include mammals, plants, birds, reptiles, fish, bugs and butterflies – and are kept up to date so they can keep pressing the Welsh Government on working to protect and restore biodiversity and, in turn, ensure the sustainable management of natural resources.
The Welsh Government is also in the process of setting carbon budgets, which must be in line with our global responsibility to tackle carbon emissions and to reverse the damage that’s already been done.
AMs can ‘show the love’ by continuing to raise climate change in the Senedd and highlighting the impact it’s having on their constituency. The public can do their bit by recording early signs of spring and getting involved in citizen science projects. Nature’s Calendar is a great website where people can upload their photos and sightings to help scientists monitor the effects of climate change on wildlife.