People have been invited to count butterflies they see in gardens, parks and countryside over the next three weeks and submit their findings, in order to complete a survey that assesses the state and health of British butterflies.
The Big Butterfly Count was launched in 2010, in partnership with retailer Marks and Spencer, as part of its sustainability commitment.
Last year, about 800,000 butterflies were spotted by the public, thanks to the warm summer, which helped many species recover in 2013. However, conservationists warned the number of butterflies is still below average, with some species such as the tortoiseshell ones struggling.
Prominent naturalist and Butterfly Conservation president Sir David Attenborough said, “The UK is a nation of amateur naturalists and we have a proud tradition of celebrating and studying our wildlife.
“By taking part in the Big Butterfly Count this summer you can contribute to this heritage and discover the fantastic butterflies and other wildlife that share your garden, parks and countryside.”
Despite last year’s recovery, three-quarters of the UK’s butterflies remain in decline, with one-third in danger of extinction.
Attenborough added, “This is bad news for butterflies and it is bad news for the UK’s birds, bees, bats and other wildlife. This is because butterflies are a key indicator species of the health of our environment – if they are struggling, then many other species are struggling also.
“Every single person taking part in the Big Butterfly Count this summer can produce a statistic that is of real value as their records help build a picture of how butterflies are faring and how we can best conserve them.”
The Butterfly Conservation has invited people to leave a small patch of grass grow out and plant wild flowers to create habitat for butterflies, but also for other wildlife including declining bees.
Photo: Ian Kirk via flickr