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Big Butterfly Count 2021 sees lowest ever number of butterflies recorded - Butterfly Conservation

Ringlet - Heath McDonald
Ringlet - Heath McDonald

Wildlife charity warns that we must act now if we are to save the UK’s butterflies and moths for future generations.

Butterfly Conservation has today released data on the number of butterflies and day-flying moths counted across the UK in this year’s Big Butterfly Count, which ran from 16th July – 8th August.

Worryingly, the decline in the number of butterflies and moths across the UK is continuing, with the overall number of butterflies recorded per count at its lowest level since the Big Butterfly Count began 12 years ago.

The nation’s love of butterflies isn’t diminishing. Despite the low butterfly numbers, and relatively poor weather, more butterfly counts were submitted than ever before. Over 150,000 counts were registered, representing more than 38,000 hours of butterfly counting in gardens, parks and the countryside.

Dr Zoë Randle, Senior Surveys Officer at Butterfly Conservation said: “This year’s results show that the average number of butterflies and moths per count is the lowest we’ve recorded so far. On average people counted nine butterflies or moths per count, which is down from 11 in 2020, and down again from 16 in 2019. More counts are undertaken and submitted year on year, but it seems that there are fewer butterflies and moths around to be counted.”

Some of the UK’s most-loved species including the Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies dropped in numbers this summer. The iconic Peacock butterfly suffered its lowest numbers since 2012. The Small Tortoiseshell, once a frequent visitor to gardens in the UK, had its third worst summer in the history of the Big Butterfly Count and shows a significant long-term decline in Britain.

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