THE FUTURE does not look bright for butterflies in Warwickshire according to legendary wildlife expert Sir David Attenborough.
He is urging people across the county to take part in the Big Butterfly Count running until August 6.
Sir David told The Observer: “Taking part in the Big Butterfly Count is good for butterflies and it is also good for us all. The count is good for butterflies because sightings will tell us which species need help and in which areas we need to help them.”
More than three-quarters of the UK’s butterflies have declined in the last 40 years. Last year was the fourth worst on record for butterflies including common species such as the small tortoiseshell, peacock, meadow brown and gatekeeper.
The Big Butterfly Count is the world’s largest butterfly survey, where people spot and record 18 species of butterflies and two day-flying moths during three weeks of high summer.
Families are being invited to take part in their gardens or on a butterfly walk at Snitterfield Bushes Nature Reserve on July 23 from 11am.
This year’s count follows new findings that butterflies are declining more rapidly in urban areas than in the countryside.
As many counts will take place in gardens and parks, the results from these habitats will help inform conservationists on how to make urban landscapes more butterfly-friendly.
And experts think the dry spring and early summer in the UK so far, could offer butterflies some respite if it continues.
Sir David, who is also the Butterfly Conservation President, said: “The next few weeks are a vital period for our butterflies. They need to make the most of this chance to feed and breed.
“Worryingly, we are now seeing the fortunes of some of our once common butterflies mirror those of our rarest species and they too are now also suffering significant declines.
“In the last decade our butterflies have experienced several poor years and although resilient, they simply cannot sustain repeated losses, especially if the habitats they need in order to rebuild their populations are also under threat.
“But the Big Butterfly Count is also good for you because 15 minutes spent watching butterflies in the summer sunshine is priceless; spending time with butterflies lifts the spirits and reinvigorates that sense of wonder in the natural world.”
Visit www.bigbutterflycount.org for more information and to submit recordings.