Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb made a champion for endangered species

Norman Lamb holds up picture of the fen orchid - the endangered species he is championing

Norman Lamb holds up picture of the fen orchid - the endangered species he is championing - Credit: Archant

Twenty endangered species have been given an MP to fight their corner in parliament as part of a new nature initiative.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey are among the East Anglian parliamentarians who have been given the honoured title.

The Liberal Democrat has been tasked with banging the drum for the fen orchid, while Dr Coffey, who is leader of the House of Commons will be a cheerleader for the bittern.

Former South Norfolk councillor, now Cambridge MP, Daniel Zeichner MP will be gunning for the ruderal bumblebee.

It is part of the Species Champions initiative launched this week by a coalition of seven nature organisation - the RSPB, Butterfly Conservation, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Buglife, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Plantlife and the Bat Conservation Trust.

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The MPs will be able to learn first-hand about their species and the practical action and policy decisions needed to help their populations recover.

The organisations hope that by raising awareness of these species and the threats they face, and spreading that knowledge throughout the political community, they will be able to secure the threatened wildlife.

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The fen orchid grows in fens. Unlike other British orchids, fen orchids have very few roots and grow perched on mounds of moss, which makes them especially vulnerable to drying out. This has resulted in fen orchids being lost from much of their former range due to a combination of drainage, habitat destruction and scrub encroachment.

Ben McCarthy, Plantlife's Director of Strategy, said: 'We are delighted that Norman Lamb has agreed to become the Species Champion for the fen orchid. The conservation importance of this species is second to none, which is reflected in the strong legal protection it is afforded. Plantlife is leading a targeted conservation programme to bring the species back to former sites through a combination of habitat management work and experimental reintroduction, as well as ensuring remaining sites are afforded the protection they deserve. This species needs all the help it can get and it is a hugely positive step that it now has its own champion in parliament.'

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