Rhondda AM Leanne Wood has taken on the role of Species Champion for the Bilberry bumblebee.
The Penygraig-based Leader of Plaid Cymru met with pupils from Llwynypia Primary school to search for the species during a field trip to Cwm Clydach Countryside Park. They were joined with representatives from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Colliery Spoil Biodiversity Initiative, in the hope of finding a Bilberry bumblebee.
The Bilberry bumblebee, which is one of twenty four species of bumblebee in the UK, is a species of upland and moorland habitats, but has been found abundantly across the Welsh coalfields, thriving on the flower rich habitats which have developed on old colliery spoil sites.
Although many other bees were found during the visit, the elusive Bilberry Bee remained elusive.
Speaking of her new role, Leanne Wood said:
“I’m pleased to be the Species Champion for the Bilberry bumblebee. My species is scarce in this country, but it is thriving in my constituency of Rhondda, thanks to the distinctive landscape and important habitats in the area.
“Biodiversity needs a voice, and the Species Champions initiative helps to give that voice by highlighting these rare, scarce and threatened species. Wales has signed up to international biodiversity targets to halt biodiversity loss by 2020. The State of Nature report shows how urgently we need to act to halt biodiversity loss.”
The Wales Environment Link (WEL) Species Champions initiative asks Assembly Members to lend political support to the protection of Wales’ special and threatened wildlife by becoming ‘Species Champions’. The project aims to highlight the incredible diversity of nature in Wales. The work of Species Champions will be important in ensuring that Wales meets the international target under the Convention on Biological Diversity to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020.
The Species Champion Initiative is supported by WEL member organisations. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is involved in working with the two Species Champions who are championing bumblebee species.
Sinead Lynch, Conservation Officer for Wales, said: “This is a great initiative which gives rare and threatened species a voice in the Senedd, and by extension gives nature a greater prominence in political discussion.
“It’s great to see the beautiful and charismatic Bilberry bumblebee being championed by Leanne Wood."
Through signing up to be a Species Champion, Ms. Wood is helping to preserve not just the Bilberry bumblebee, and the tangible benefits it provides, but also the inspiration, wonder and awe through which nature transforms us all.