Conservationists are urging the public to help stop further wildlife loss by encouraging their local MPs and Prospective Parliamentary Candidates to sign a new “Wildlife Pledge”, to do all they can to stop and reverse wildlife decline.
A consortium of 11 wildlife charities, including WWT, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife, The RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts have pulled together the pledge to help reverse the rapid decline in our wildlife – both species and habitats. It was recently reported that around 500 species have become extinct in England in the recent past and conservationists are appealing to the public to help make wildlife a top priority for politicians and stop further species being lost.
The Wildlife Pledge, which can be viewed online at www.wildlifepledges2010.org.uk is supported by wildlife organisations representing over two million people. It includes the promise to take action in tackling climate change and to help wildlife meet this challenge. It also looks for commitment from politicians to help reverse the decline of farmland wildlife by the effective promotion of nature-friendly farming, as well as to provide children with contact with the natural world as part of their education.
The pledge gives Prospective Parliamentary Candidates the opportunity to express their support and commitment to various aspects of wildlife conservation. The public can view which candidates have given their support for this issue before the election. Conservationists are encouraging people to then contact their Prospective Parliamentary Candidates informing them how important this issue is and that their response to the pledge may affect the way they vote.
Dr Martin Warren, Chief Executive of Butterfly Conservation said: “Biodiversity is a crucial issue facing the future survival of the planet. It is vital that the next UK parliament takes biodiversity seriously and encourages urgent action to reverse the massive losses of the last few decades. We are urging Parliamentary Candidates to sign the Wildlife Pledge to demonstrate commitment to protecting our wildlife and stop further extinctions.”
RSPB Director of Conservation, Mark Avery, said: “Wildlife doesn’t get to vote at the election but we hope that voters can make this an issue that counts. The wildlife pledge allows people to check out how wildlife friendly their prospective MPs will be.”
Stephanie Hilborne, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts said: “The actions of the next government are absolutely crucial to ensuring a future for our wildlife. One of the many challenges they will face will be to implement the Marine Act to restore our seas and also to restore the natural environment on land. It is vital that we have MPs in the new parliament who understand and appreciate these challenges and keep the next government on its toes.”
Chief Executive of Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Martin Spray, said: “We urge all of our members and supporters to make their local candidates aware that wildlife really matters to the people in their community, as does the habitat that supports them. Wetlands are particularly vital for the wide ranging benefits they bring to our communities and to the wildlife they support. If you look after the habitat, you are looking after the wildlife, and the people. It is essential that this be an issue at the ballot box.”
Plantlife’s Chief Executive Victoria Chester said she hoped that the initiative would help to raise the profile of the natural environment even further as a political issue. “We know that many voters value wildlife and the vital contribution it makes to our lives and we want it to be there for future generations to enjoy. I hope that the Pledge will encourage all candidates and future MPs to place caring for the natural environment at the heart of the work of the new parliament,” she said.
To find out if your local candidates have signed the pledge, visit www.wildlifepledges2010.org.uk