Charity urges gardeners to boost butterfly numbers

The Butterfly Conservation is urging gardeners to take part in this year’s Big Butterfly Count to record sightings and to help the charity decide how best to conserve butterflies in the UK. According to the charity, butterfly numbers have decreased as a result of the cold, wet weather in late spring and early summer.

Dr Martin Warren, the charity’s chief executive, said: “This spring could have been catastrophic for butterflies, because it means we will have had three really bad breeding seasons in a row.

“We have evidence that even common butterflies such as the small tortoiseshell are getting much rarer. Almost three-quarters of UK butterfly species have decreased in population during the last decade. Last year we saw a quarter less butterflies than in the previous year.”

He added: “In 2010 and 2011 we had a really bad July and August, as butterflies struggled to feed, fly and find a mate in the chilly conditions. The cold, wet weather in summer reduces their chances of survival.”

The charity also encouraged people to allow a wild patch grow in their garden, as this can provide a haven for butterflies.

This year’s Big Butterfly Count will take place from July 14th until 5th August.