South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has highlighted the importance of his work with Scottish Environment LINK’s relaunched Nature Champions initiative.
The Nature Champions 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.
This session, Colin Smyth is once again championing the badger and earlier this month he took the opportunity to meet the Scottish Borders branch of charity Scottish Badgers and visit a sett near Melrose.
The visit was to mark the creation of the group and to celebrate the successful fundraising campaign which allowed the group to purchase five new trail cameras, which will be used for monitoring setts and capturing badger behaviour that can then be shared via social media to raise awareness.
Colin Smyth said: “It was great to meet up with the Borders group and learn more about some the great work they and Scottish Badgers do across the country to monitor badger levels and look at ways of ensuring they can live in harmony with the rest of countryside without facing threats from appalling practises such as badger baiting, the destruction of setts and an increasing level of road kills.
“It is fantastic that as part of my role as Nature Champion, I am able to get out and meet with groups like this who are doing amazing conservation work and raising awareness of issues facing our native creatures like the badger.
“Scotland has some of the most iconic species and habitats in the world and it is vitally important that we care for them.
“We all need to become nature champions if we’re to ensure that some of the amazing creatures and places that we love are still around for our children and grandchildren.
“I would encourage people in the Borders to get involved with groups such as Scottish Badgers if you have an interest in our natural environment.”
Lisa McLeish, coordinator of the Borders branch said: “We want to increase our understanding of badgers in the area and build a comprehensive map so we can monitor setts and protect these amazing creatures.”
She also referred to the importance of recording road casualties in the Borders area, asking people to record any sightings of dead badgers on the Scottish Badgers website, www.scottishbadgers.co.uk.
Lisa added: “Records of badgers killed on our roads can help highlight problem areas and provide evidence that we can then use to encourage the local council to improve mitigation and help prevent the volume of casualties.”