Are butterflies slipping through our fingers?

The results for this year’s Big Butterfly Count are in and conservationists are already ‘scratching their heads,’ reports Butterfly Conservation. Over 38,000 counts were apparently completed and an almost unbelievable 396,138 butterflies were counted and – despite favourable weather conditions – 2016 will be a year where ‘common species saw their numbers collapse over summer.’

‘Gatekeeper, Comma and Small Copper butterflies experienced their worst year in the project’s history, with sightings 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,’ declares Butterfly Conservation in an email sent today to its supporters.

One regular contributor to the count stated that he did not count this year as he’d ‘hardly any sightings.’

The State of Nature report published in September reported that one in ten UK species is now threatened with extinction and the Big Butterfly Count is further supporting evidence that butterflies may be slipping away from the UK.

Maxwell Knight would have been very disappointed in this news as I’m sure many others are. The question is, what can be done about it?

We can support Butterfly Conservation by donating to their conservation work: ‘£1 today could be worth £10 towards crucial conservation,’ they claim and that sounds like a canny investment in wildlife to me.

Click here to read the big butterfly count 2016 results.

It hasn’t all been bad news, though: seven species were recorded in larger numbers and the Red Admiral’s numbers are up by 70%.