Big Butterfly Count: UK-wide survey calls on people to count butterflies to help map and measure populations

Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation is calling on people to count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright and preferably sunny weather, as part of this year’s Big Butterfly Count.

The UK-wide survey simply asks you to spend 15 minutes in an outdoor space counting the amount and type of butterflies (and some day-flying moths) you see.

Big Butterfly Count which kickstarted yesterday (17 July) will run until 9 August. Butterfly Conservation have chosen this time of year to launch their citizen science survey because most butterflies are at the adult stage of their lifecycle, so more likely to be seen.

Butterflies are vital parts of the ecosystem as both pollinators and components of the food chain. However, they are under threat. Numbers of butterflies and moths in the UK have decreased significantly since the 1970s.

Butterfly Conservation say: “Butterfly declines are also an early warning for other wildlife losses. Butterflies are key biodiversity indicators for scientists as they react very quickly to changes in their environment. Therefore, if their numbers are falling, then nature is in trouble.

“So tracking numbers of butterflies is crucial in the fight to conserve our natural world. That’s why taking part in this massive citizen science enterprise is of great importance not just for our butterflies but for the wider environment and biodiversity in general.”

Last year’s Big Butterfly Count saw over 113,000 members of the public take part last year.

The butterfly sightings that participants submit will be used to map and measure populations and the geographic spread of species across the UK. Records are welcome from anywhere – from parks, school grounds and gardens, to fields and forests.

Dr Zoë Randle, Senior Surveys Officer at Butterfly Conservation said: “We’re excited to find out the results from the Big Butterfly Count this year. The very sunny spring weather meant that almost all butterfly species have emerged early this summer, so we’re hoping for some interesting data. As our weather patterns change it’s more important than ever for us to be able to capture this information.

If you would like to take part in the survey, visit the Big Butterfly count website

Butterfly Conservation

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.

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