By JR on Saturday, September 17, 2011
Hey! Where did that global warming get to??
Butterfly numbers have fallen after the coldest summer in two decades, a survey shows. In particular, nearly two thirds of the common blue species were wiped out.
Numbers of all butterflies were down 11 per cent on last year as winds and heavy rain devastated their reproductive patterns.
The figures come from more than 34,000 people who joined the Big Butterfly Count, organised by the Butterfly Conservation charity. A spokesman described the results as ‘very worrying’. Butterflies play a key role in pollination. But they are unable to fly, feed, find mates or lay eggs in cold, rainy weather. Almost half of the 59 British species are now under threat.
Experts are concerned about the future of the brightly-coloured species, which was once a regular sight in Britain’s gardens and parks.
The Big Butterfly Count was launched last year by Sir David Attenborough who is president of the charity Butterfly Conservation and has spoken of the ‘catastrophic drop’ in numbers.
‘It used to be that if you had a buddleia in your garden, you couldn’t get to the flowers because of the sheer number of butterflies,' he said. ‘I live in Richmond near the park and river and Kew Gardens but the variety and number I get in my garden has gone down. ‘Walking in the countryside in my youth there were so many butterflies. But I don’t know anywhere where I could match that today.’