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Warm weather sees butterflies bounce back
BUTTERFLIES have bounced back thanks to warm weather this year.
The Dorset-based charity Butterfly Conservation has carried out the world’s largest butterfly count and found that numbers are on the rise after the hot summer of 2013.
Dorset is one of the best areas in the UK for butterflies and moths and 44 species can be found in the county.
Richard Fox, butterfly conservation surveys manager, said: “It has been a truly memorable summer for butterflies, a wonderful spectacle for the many thousands of people who’ve helped with the Big Butterfly Count and a lifeline to the UK’s hard-pressed butterfly populations.
“It reminds us that butterflies are resilient and will thrive given good weather and suitable habitats.
“The problem facing UK butterflies is not the notoriously variable weather but the way that humans manage the landscape.
“The record-breaking support for this year’s Big Butterfly Count shows the public is concerned about wildlife and willing to do something to help stem their long-term declines.”
The hot weather this year has enabled UK butterflies to make a comeback after a string of poor years.
Long spells of warm, sunny weather in July and August gave a boost for beleaguered butterflies with four times as many recorded during this year’s Big Butterfly Count than in 2012.
A record-breaking 46,000 people took part counting more than 830,000 butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK.
For the fourth year running, the Big Butterfly Count took place in partnership with Marks & Spencer as part of its Plan A commitment to be the world’s most sustainable major retailer by 2015.
Joanna Lumley, Marks & Spencer Plan A ambassador, said: “It is wonderful news this was a record breaking year for the Big Butterfly Count with the highest ever number of people taking part. Butterflies are magical creatures that are crucial to our environment, and this year’s count success shows that by giving up just 15 minutes of our time we can all play our part to help secure their future.”
2012 was the worst year on record for butterflies and had followed a series of poor summers which had compounded the long-term declines of many UK butterflies.
But perfect conditions this summer saw butterflies boom with large numbers recorded across the UK’s gardens, parks, school playgrounds and countryside.
Butterfly spotters counted almost twice as many individuals on average compared with last year including the large white, small white, peacock and small tortoiseshell.
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