Every day, biodiversity is being lost at up to 1,000 times the natural rate Planet Earth presenter Sir David Attenborough emphasised on Tuesday evening as he collected a charity cheque from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Sir David discussed the alarming decline as he accepted £250,000 on behalf of Fauna & Flora International (FFI), of which he has been a vice-president for 37 years and a member for almost six decades.

With species and ecosystems vanishing at an unprecedented rate, the need to see a step-change in the way the world addresses these threats has never been more urgent and raising the profile of FFI is critical, Sir David said.

The award announcement was made at the Lottery’s charity gala at Prestonfield House in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Sir David, who has just marked 65 years on television with the completion of Planet Earth II, added: “Over its 113-year history, Fauna & Flora International has saved species from extinction and habitats from destruction. Raising FFI’s profile as a leading conservation organisation will enable them to further educate and encourage people, businesses and governments to behave more sustainably.

“I’m thrilled that the award from players of People’s Postcode Lottery will help them gain new supporters and join forces with them to stop biodiversity decline.”

The charity gala celebrated a record year for People’s Postcode Lottery and significant growth in funds for good causes in 2016. Sir David Attenborough attended the event as a guest speaker for an audience of representatives of supported charities, politicians, members of the media and other distinguished guests.

During an on-stage discussion with interviewer Dermot Murnaghan, Sir David told guests about the future of global conservation and FFI’s work to educate and encourage people, businesses and governments to behave more sustainably.

Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, FFI will be able to propel onto the global stage vital messages about the threats to our natural world, raising awareness of these critical issues among the international community and working with this community to change the world we live in for the better.

Attenborough accepts cheque (2). Credit: People's Postcode Lottery.
Dermot Murnaghan with Sir David Attenborough as he accepts a cheque on behalf of FFI. Credit: People’s Postcode Lottery.

FFI’s Director of Science, Dr Abigail Entwistle attended the event, and was full of praise. “The breadth and diversity of charitable work supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery is truly impressive, and it was wonderful to see so much of this showcased so effectively last night. It was inspiring to see what other charities – representing so many different issues – are doing, and how much good they are achieving with the support of players of the charity lottery. This was a true celebration of the work of the third sector and I was proud to be part of it.”

Speaking about what it means to receive this substantial award, FFI Chief Executive Mark Rose said, “FFI’s many conservation success stories have been underpinned by a community of staff, supporters and partners all working together to protect threatened species and habitats around the world.

“This global community is vital because the scale and complexity of the threats to our natural world require people from all walks of life to work together. Thanks to this generous award, we will be able to reach out to and work with ever more people, in a sense bringing the players of People’s Postcode Lottery into our conservation community.”

Since People’s Postcode Lottery was first launched in Britain in 2008, players have raised £168.4 million for charities and good causes in Britain and internationally. To learn more, read the official press release.

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