Brits urged to count butterflies as fears grow over climate change
Have a spare 15 minutes? That’s all the time you need to help conservationists build a better picture of the UK’s butterfly population.
Charity Butterfly Conservation wants Brits to go outside and count how many butterflies they see in an effort to understand how climate change is affecting the creatures.
The organisation says butterflies have faced a ‘disasterous’ spring, with unseasonable cold temperatures and wet weather.
Last year’s Big Butterfly Count saw its biggest ever number of responses at more than 145,000. But it also saw the lowest average number of butterflies spotted since the survey began 12 years ago.
Conservationists want to know if this trend has continued.
Current records show that lots of butterfly species emerged late this year after the poor spring weather, with species including the small tortoiseshell, the comma, the large white and the red admiral all down on their usual levels.
The count will help conservationists find out how species like these are doing as we move into summer.
Wildlife broadcaster and Butterfly Conservation vice president Chris Packham said counting butterflies was an easy way for individuals to make a real difference.
He said: ‘Because butterflies and moths make excellent indicators of the impacts of climate change and other human environmental factors, collecting data on their numbers is really important.
So, something as simple as recording a butterfly spotted in your garden, at your local park or on your window box can play a part in vital research into a global problem. It’s a really valuable contribution everyone can make.’
Butterfly Conservation Senior Surveys Officer Dr Zoë Randle, said: ‘We really need the public’s help to understand what is happening to our butterfly and moth populations. It’s a small but crucial thing everyone can do.
This information will not only help us to protect these species, but also to inform what effect the changing climate is having on our biodiversity.’
The organisation says anyone of any age and ability can get involved.
All you need to do is go into an outdoor space for fifteen minutes and count the number and type of butterflies you see.
You can submit your findings to the Big Butterfly Count website or through a dedicated app.
The count runs from 16th July to 18th August.