Harper champions wildlife native to South Scotland

South Scotland list MSP Emma Harper has been nominated as a Nature Champion by Scottish Environment LINK.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 1:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 5:19 pm
Emma Harper is delighted by a reported rise in the number of Natterjack Toads
Emma Harper is delighted by a reported rise in the number of Natterjack Toads

Ms Harper will champion two species unique to the south of Scotland - the Natterjack Toad and the Native Oyster.

The initiative has been developed by LINK to encourage MSPs to champion endangered or iconic species and priority habitats, raising awareness and promoting action to restore and safeguard Scotland’s environment.

There are currently 105 MSP champions, representing 80 per cent 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.

Ms Harper 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, which can only be found on the Solway Coast, on Endangered Species Day by raising a motion in parliament to obtain political support for its continued protection.

"Happily, the Natterjack population has seen an impressive increase in numbers thanks to the fantastic habitat management put in place at RSPB Mersehead.

"Earlier this month I also raised a motion in parliament 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 region which is home to Scotland's oldest and finest Native Oysters, with the oyster beds dating as far back as 1701.

“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 Scottish Government has pledged to invest an additional £500m into the natural economy to help tackle the biodiversity crisis.