SIR David Attenborough is calling on the public for help as Dorset’s declining butterfly population faces a critical summer.
President of Lulworth-based Butterfly Conservation, Mr Attenborough is urging the public to participate in the world’s largest butterfly survey, the Big Butterfly Count by spending 15 minutes between today and August 6 counting butterflies. 
He said: “Fifteen minutes spent watching butterflies in the summer sunshine is priceless; spending time with butterflies lifts the spirits and re-invigorates that sense of wonder in the natural world.”
Participants will be encouraged to spot and record 18 species of common butterfly and two day-flying moths during three weeks of high summer.
Events will be held across Dorset during the count including free butterfly walks in Sturminster Newton and Durlston Country Park and the third Great Dorset Butterfly Scramble with participants splitting into teams and competing to see the most species. 
Martin Spray, chief executive of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, which is launching the event, said: “It’s a great activity for families getting outside on a summer’s day.”
2016 was the fourth worst year on record for butterflies but the warm weather experienced across the UK so far this year could offer butterflies some relief if the good weather continues.
Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation head of recording said: “Big Butterfly Count is more important than ever. Simply taking 15 minutes out of your normal day to enjoy the sunshine and count butterflies can help us monitor their populations. 
“It’s a win-win for wildlife.”
Results from the count, which can be submitted via the butterfly count website or app, will help scientists find out how butterflies are faring and where conservation efforts should be targeted.
The survey follows new findings that butterflies are declining more rapidly in urban areas so conservationists will be focusing their efforts on making urban landscapes more butterfly-friendly.
More than three-quarters of the UK’s butterflies have declined in the last 40 years with some common species suffering significant slumps.
“Last year, despite a warm summer, butterflies like the Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper saw their numbers fall as a warm winter and cold spring earlier in the year led to problems that affected their numbers later,” Mr Attenborough said. 
For more information and event details visit