22 April 2024

20,245 butterflies spotted across Wiltshire last summer, can the region beat that this year?

Last summer, citizen scientists in Wiltshire spotted 20,245 butterflies and day-flying moths during the Big Butterfly Count.

Today, a wildlife conservation charity, Butterfly Conservation, is issuing a rallying cry to people in the region to help beat that this year.

In 2022, people across Wiltshire did 2,017 Big Butterfly Counts, with Large White taking the top spot for species sightings. Scientists are hoping even more people will participate to help find out what’s happening with the region’s butterflies before the Count ends on Sunday, 6 August.

It’s more important than ever that people take part this year. The record temperatures, heatwave and drought in 2022 caused some of the plants that caterpillars feed on to wither and die, which can dramatically impact the butterfly population.

Previous extreme summers in 1976 and 1995 took a heavy toll, with butterfly numbers crashing the following year and taking almost a decade to recover.

Dr Zoë Randle, Senior Surveys Officer at Butterfly Conservation, explains: ‘We really need people across Wiltshire to get out for the Count to help us understand the impact of climate change on our most-loved butterflies.

“Who doesn’t remember following a fluttering Red Admiral around, or being mesmerised by a Large White? Butterflies are key indicators of environmental health, and with half of Britain’s butterfly species already threatened or near threatened with extinction, we need to take action now to protect them. We need you to help us.”

Whether done with friends and family, or in a moment of quiet calm and solitude, the Big Butterfly Count is free, fun and takes just 15 minutes in a sunny spot. It is open to anyone, of any age, in any part of the UK – towns, cities or the countryside.

No green space is too small – a back garden, a small terrace or balcony with some pot plants, a public park, allotment, or country lane are all important spaces to explore, track and report.

This year’s Big Butterfly Count is already underway, running until Sunday, 6th August. For more information and to take part, visit www.bigbutterflycount.org or download the free Big Butterfly Count app.

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns