The 2016 Big Butterfly Count revealed a worrying collapse of butterfly numbers across the UK.
We need your help to understand these devestating declines before it's too late for our butterflies.
Summer would not be the same without the sight of a Small Tortoiseshell flitting from flower to flower, or a Small Copper basking in the sun, but both these species were surprisingly scarce this year.
2012 was the worst year on record for butterflies, with the blame put mainly on unseasonably cold and wet weather. The figures for the 2016 Big Butterfly Count were even lower than this disaster year, in spite of a warmer than average summer. We urgently need to identify clear reasons for these declines in order to prevent further losses of our beautiful butterflies.
Widespread species such as the Gatekeeper, Comma and Small Copper experienced their worst summers since the Big Butterfly Count began and were down 40%, 46% and 30% respectively compared to last year.
The Small Tortoiseshell saw a 47% drop in numbers and Peacock slumped by 42% with both species recording their second worst years.
These declines could be due to the very mild winter, or the cold spring. Intensive farming and pesticide use are also likely to have an impact. But without further research we cannot accurately determine the causes and prevent further declines.
Butterflies respond quickly to environmental changes. Their sensitivity makes them valuable indicators of the health of the countryside. Declines of our common butterflies are a clear warning sign that wildlife as a whole is in trouble.
Please donate to our research fund today and your support will help us undertake further analysis of butterfly and moth recording and monitoring data. This research will allow us to identify the root causes of decline and the conservation action that could improve the outlook for the species that are struggling the most.
Research is vital to help underpin our conservation work and safeguard our beautiful butterflies and moths for future generations to enjoy. Please donate today.
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