PUBLISHED: 14:37 08 August 2014 | UPDATED: 13:17 30 August 2017

Female silver-studded blue, photo by Steve Rogers

Female silver-studded blue, photo by Steve Rogers


Cornwall Wildlife Trust is calling for help in reversing the decline in both rare and common butterflies.

Leading local wildlife charity, Cornwall Wildlife Trust is calling for help in reversing the decline in both rare and common butterflies. The trust is hoping to raise £20,000 towards its conservation work.

72% of the UK’s butterflies have decreased over the previous 10 years, including common garden’ butterflies that have declined by 24%, according to The State of the UK’s Butterflies 2011 report.

Cornwall’s struggling butterflies face numerous threats such as built development, intensification of farming and lack of management of vital habitats where they live and breed. By raising the urgently needed £20,000 Cornwall Wildlife Trust will tackle all of these issues.

These funds will help the Trust to stop inappropriate development, as important butterfly sites are still being damaged and lost to opportunistic developments. They will stop this by influencing strategic development plans and fighting damaging planning applications.

Seeing butterflies is a sign of a healthy countryside and if we take away their habitat we won't see them anymore. It's as simple as that

Scrub clearance work urgently needs to be done on Trust nature reserves such as Helman Tor near Bodmin, Windmill Farm on The Lizard and Upton Towans near Hayle. Work on these sites must be done this winter if butterflies are to survive and flourish on them.

'I hope our members and the wider public will support this appeal. For some, butterflies are the highlight of warm summer days; beautifully marked insects which seem to dance around our gardens and countryside fields and hedgerows,' says Keith Hambly-Staite, Trustee for Cornwall Wildlife Trust. 'They delight adults and children alike. But they are in decline; without the right habitats our butterflies, which have been part of our summer months for centuries will be gone forever. Cornwall Wildlife Trust has 57 nature reserves across Cornwall covering over 5000 acres, couple this with our growing relationship with the farming community and we are well placed to reverse this decline. But we do need your help to achieve this. Any contribution people feel they can make to our appeal will make a big difference to the future of Cornwall’s butterflies.'

The Trust, who protect Cornwall’s wildlife and wild places have been fighting hard for years to save rare and threatened species including marsh fritillary, small pearl-bordered fritillary and the stunning silver studded blue. Unfortunately some of our more common butterflies are now declining in the wider countryside. The Trust must continue to do what they can on their own nature reserves but see their work with farmers and land owners as now more vital than ever if they are to reverse this decline.

Callum Deveney, Head of Nature Reserves for Cornwall Wildlife Trust says 'Seeing butterflies is a sign of a healthy countryside and if we take away their habitat we won't see them anymore. It's as simple as that, so please support our butterfly appeal. The more that we can do on our nature reserves for butterflies, both rare and common, the better the chance they have of increasing in the wider landscape. We really need to carry out work this winter but we need extra funds to do this.'

The Trust aim to work on new projects to save butterflies with Cornwall Butterfly Conservation, as well as survey farmland, which covers 74% of Cornwall for butterflies and butterfly habitats. The charity will also track changes in butterfly population size and extent. It is important for them to know how Cornwall’s butterfly populations are changing in order to effectively focus their conservation efforts. The Trust hosts the Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (ERCCIS) where butterfly records are gathered from specialist recorders and the public alike.

The beautiful marsh fritillary (above) is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority butterfly, classed as vulnerable. The UK population has declined by 46% since the 1970s. These can be found on Helman Tor (Bodmin) and Windmill Farm (The Lizard) Nature Reserves. The amazing silver studded blue is also a BAP species whose population has decreased nationally by 43% by the 1970s. Whlist endangered these can still be seen on the Trust’s Upton Towans Nature Reserve, near Hayle. In the last decade there have also been some big drops in our more common butterflies that you may expect to see in your garden or in a walk in the countryside. The following declines; peacock 24%, red admiral21%, holly blue 29% and small tortoiseshell 64% are worrying trends.

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