Election time is looming in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Politicians are dusting off their manifestos, the public are gearing up ready to cast their votes, and Bob is back on the campaign trail.

You may remember Bob from the 2015 general election. He is a small red squirrel and his aim is to put nature back on the political agenda by collecting as much support from politicians and the public as possible. Through doing this, Bob will ensure that our natural environment is kept safe for our children and future generations.

I should add that as the elections are in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, only people resident in those countries can vote for Bob. But if you live in England, don’t worry. You can still help by telling your friends who live in other countries in the UK about Bob’s campaign and encouraging them to support it.

Protecting wildlife is vital, and yet it often feels like a political afterthought, placed down below issues of immigration, the economy and benefit cuts and considered to be something not worth spending money on. Bob’s aim is to change this, urging MPs as well as the general public to back his campaign and write to their party leaders asking them to support nature.

All the countries with elections this year have familiar species resident in them which are now under threat as well as a huge range of unique habitats - mountains, coasts, woodlands and freshwater lakes and river to name but a few. Wales contains huge breeding colonies of Manx shearwaters, puffins and other seabirds which nest along its coast, in addition to many endemic species such as the Snowdon lily and Skomer vole. Wales and Scotland are now the only places in the UK where ospreys breed, while Scotland itself is the last stronghold of many animals which once roamed across the whole of Britain, for example the capercaillie, Golden eagle and Scottish wildcat. The wildlife of Northern Ireland is perhaps less well known but equally significant, with the corncrake now extinct there and the Irish hare under threat from non-native European hares. Last but certainly not least, Wales and Scotland contain most of the UK breeding population of red squirrels!

The British Isles have some of the most varied habitat in the world packed into such a small area. It is crucially important that politicians consider this fact. Government collaboration can help ensure that our ecosystems are protected, while politicians have already shown us at the Paris climate conference that they are capable of considering the environment. We now need them to go even further than that and make nature a priority.

So, how do you support Bob’s campaign. You’ll have to act fast – there are only a few days left before the election. Go to the campaign website: https://www.voteforbob.co.uk and fill in a petition. It doesn’t matter which political party you intend to vote for; the idea behind “Vote for Bob” is to get everyone on the side of nature no matter what their views may be on other issues. The more votes collected, the more we can show politicians that the public cares about nature and wants to see it protected. As well, you’ll find details of your political candidates on the website when you enter your postcode, and you can contact them directly to ask them to back Bob. Also, don’t forget to share the campaign on Twitter and Facebook and tell your friends to support it!