Big Butterfly Count in UK begins to see if numbers are declining

·1-min read
The Big Butterfly Count has started in the UK (Jim Asher)
The Big Butterfly Count has started in the UK (Jim Asher)

People are being urged to take part in the Big Butterfly Count to see whether there is any truth in the reports that the pretty insects numbers are declining.

Conservationists are hoping alarming figures from the past two years which both showed record lows will be reversed in 2022.

To take part in a count, participants download a chart of species.

Then they must wait in a place to spot butterflies for 15 minutes and record findings to the Butterfly Conservation.

While a record 150,000 counts took place last year, it was not all good news.

In 2020, the average count recorded 10.66 sightings and this reduced to nine last year - the lowest recorded since the count began in 2010.

Dr Zoe Randle, senior surveys officer at Butterfly Conservation, said: “We really need people’s help this year to help us figure out where our butterflies are and what we need to do to save them.

“It’s not just the rare species of butterfly – the ones with restricted habitat or food plants – that we are concerned about. Some of our previously commonly seen butterflies, like the Small Tortoiseshell, are also declining rapidly.”

The count lasts from Friday until August 7.

Doctor and writer Dr Amir Khan is publicising the event with his spots on Lorraine and Good Morning Britain.

He said: “Watching butterflies for just fifteen minutes can be a wonderful and calming experience.

“It is good for you as well as benefiting butterflies by helping Butterfly Conservation gather the important data they need to understand how to better protect these special insects. It is truly a win-win situation for all of us.”

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