TV presenter Mollie King backs campaign to protect endangered UK species

Radio and TV presenter, Mollie King, is backing a campaign to protect UK species on the verge of extinction. The Radio 1 star, who has been vocal about the protection of animals in the past – including reporting exploitation seen abroad by tourists – now wants to shine a light on animals that could be wiped out within the UK.

She explained how one in six species are at risk of extinction in Great Britain if more isn’t done to protect them.

Alongside natural history presenter and president of The Wildlife Trusts, Liz Bonnin, Mollie opened an immersive exhibition, “Habitats of Hope”, at the Horniman Museum and Gardens – which celebrates organisations funded by the National Lottery, that protect endangered species in the UK.

Its launch has aligned with COP28, as nations gather to discuss the escalating climate crisis – which directly threatens almost 1,500 UK native species of plants and animals with extinction.

Mollie said: “I’ve always been a huge animal lover, and what speaks to me is that animals don’t have voices, so it’s important to speak up on their behalf.

“I also support the Born Free Foundation, and one thing I hate to see is animals used in performance, or held in captivity enclosed in small spaces.

“It’s fantastic to have this exhibition to highlight these endangered species, and the work funded by The National Lottery – it’s really important to see what that money is out there doing.

“It’s nice to have moments to celebrate the good things we have done, and to take the chance to say, look what we have managed to achieve.”

Since having Annabella, I’ve seen the planet in a different way, and it’s a concern for me

Mollie King

Former The Saturdays singer Mollie also explained how becoming a mother to daughter Annabella in November 2022, has further fuelled her desire to use her profile to help protect endangered species for years to come.

She said: “Since having Annabella, I’ve seen the planet in a different way, and it’s a concern for me.

“I want to know the world she’s growing up in is safe, and will have nature, and will be able to look after itself.

“She absolutely loves animals. We have a toy poodle at home called Alfie, and her favourite thing is seeing him running out in the garden.

“She’ll be in fits of hysterics, and it’s such a joy to watch. We’re reading Peter Rabbit, and she also loves Paddington Bear, so she’s definitely an animal lover.”

The event, created by immersive artist Georgia Tucker, highlights some of the most at-risk species in the country – including the largest bat in the UK, the Serotine, as well as the rarest reptile, the Smooth Snake.

Fifteen species have been highlighted as being protected from extinction across wetlands, forests, heathlands, and coastal areas, such as the White-Tailed Eagle – the largest bird of prey in the UK, with only 150 breeding pairs remaining.

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Mollie added: “Having looked at the exhibition, it’s drawn my focus to things like the great yellow bumblebee which is at risk of extinction, and some of beetles out there, some of the smaller insects.

“You take it for granted, the importance of what they’re doing in terms of pollination, and all the vital roles they have.

“I think it’s nice to see where the National Lottery money is going. Players raise £30m a week that goes to good causes, and it’s good to see how it’s being spent and put into these amazing projects.

“This conservation project is inspiring, it’s educational, and it’s a great family trip. The earlier you can start explaining this to children, the better. For really little ones, it’s a very sensory experience, with lights and a gorgeous tree to sit under.

“And for older kids, just to introduce them to what’s going on, the work that needs to be done, and the state of the planet – both good and bad – is really important.”

Eilish McGuiness, chief executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “The “Habitats of Hope” exhibition spotlights the vital work that our nature organisations do to protect our unique natural heritage.

“Through our new 10-year strategy, Heritage 2033, the National Lottery Heritage Fund will be investing even more in helping nature to recover across both rural and urban landscapes, as well as helping more people to enjoy and connect with nature.

“The exhibition is free to enter, and available to explore until the December 10.”

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