Decline in UK butterfly population

Gatekeeper butterfly (Pyronia tithonus)

THE charity Butterfly Conservation has published a report which concludes that more than three-quarters of the UK’s butterflies have declined in the past 40 years with some of the common species actually seeing some significant falls.

This has been a long term review incorporating data and reports from thousands of volunteers which has allowed for this conclusion to be reached.

It’s not all bad news for the butterfly population as the population of some of the rare species which were threatened have actually grown, thanks to specifically targeted restoration of threatened habitats.

Two of the most threatened species, the Duke of Burgundy and high brown fritillary have seen good growth in population due to restoration of their ideal habitats, but the news is not so good for once common butterflies, such as the gatekeeper due in part to climate change and pesticides, as well as changes in the use of some woodland.

Whilst the decline is unwelcome, the hope is that, with reviews such as this and overall awareness of the need to protect all aspects of the environment, the decline will be reversed and the number of butterflies will increase over the coming years.

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