People in the UK have been pressed to undertake an annual butterfly count amidst fears that poor weather induced by climate change might have affected their number severely. Chris Packham, a TV naturalist, has said that participating in the Big Butterfly Count could lead to key information on climate change in wildlife.
People have been urged to devote at least 15 minutes outdoors counting the number of butterflies they see and determine their type. This annual count will take place covering the next 3 weeks. People could alternate between counting moths and butterflies.
The count is being run and coordinated by Butterfly Conservation, a wildlife charity. It said that the latest report has revealed that a large number of species might have been affected due to the wet and cold spring this season.
The latest butterfly count has shown the largest decline has been suffered by the speckled wood varieties. Other varieties that have shown a 10-year low include the green-veined and large whites, commas, small tortoiseshells, and the red admirals.
Conservationists say that the latest figures reveal that numerous butterflies have been affected by the turbulent weather this year which has affected their numbers.
Though April was the clearest month on record, the average temperature was also quite cold. On the other hand, May experienced the heaviest rains in the past 50 years.
Packham, VP of Butterfly Conservation and wildlife broadcaster, said that the climate crisis and biodiversity were pressing issues and individuals could make a big difference even by devoting a little time and effort.
Public Participation Vital For Butterfly Count
Moths and Butterflies are precise pointers to the impact caused by changes in climate, and also various other factors, both human and environmental. And sustained data on them can be very useful. The participation of the public through a butterfly count can help immensely as it can cover a vast area with minimal effort.
Previous research work involving the public has already brought results. It has been discovered that climate change is affecting the presence of most species. While some are being discovered in areas where they were not detected, others are rarely seen.
For instance, for the first time, the Jersey tiger moth has been found in London in growing numbers. 2020 was a dismaying year for the butterfly count, as the lowest count of butterflies was logged since the effort started 12 years ago.
The butterfly count will help us protect the species and also study the effect that climate change is exercising on our biodiversity.