Have you ever heard of the horrid ground-weaver spider? I’m guessing probably not. I hadn’t either but it sounds amazing. Let’s try another quiz question – how about the Species Champions Project? No? Me neither. But I’m very happy now to see that such a thing exists.
We’ll come to Mr Spider shortly, but first for the Project. Good for Scotland for exporting this brilliant idea, described as “a novel initiative hoping to raise the profile of some of our most threatened species.” Dozens of Members of the Scottish Parliament are already signed up as champions, and now MPs at Westminster and MEPs in Brussels have taken it up too.
This is how it works:- Every MP or MEP can pick his or her own favourite from the threatened species list and become a Species Champion. And every Species Champion is partnered with a conservation organisation that helps to keep them up-to-date on the problems facing their species, and the work being done to save it. Gary Streeter, lucky man, Tory MP for South West Devon, is champion for the very rare and tiny horrid ground-weaving spider. And no, the spider isn’t at all horrid (despite what the arachnophobes amongst us might say!) – that is its name. Really. And you would HAVE to choose it with a name like that, wouldn’t you?
(By the way Gary, I hope you’re up for protecting the badgers in your constituency too.)
Our own lovely Kerry McCarthy, vegan Labour MP for Bristol East is championing the increasingly rare swift.
Already ‘picked for the team’ in addition to the horrid g-w spidey (affectionate diminutive) are the shrill carder bee and the violet click beetle. Wondrous names for wondrous creatures.
You can find out which Westminster politicians have signed up to be Species Champions and are raising the profiles of rare and vulnerable flora and fauna here.
Maybe you’ll find your own MP amongst the names here. No chance of me finding mine, G. Osborne Esq:(