Help us save Somerset's threatened butterflies
Many butterfly species are in rapid decline across the UK due to a long-term loss of grassland and a series of consecutive wet summers. Despite conservation efforts, Grizzled Skipper, Large Blue and Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary remain a cause for concern in Somerset.
For many years, Somerset Wildlife Trust has been working to restore, recreate and enhance butterfly habitats on its reserves across the county, but the recent dramatic decline in butterfly numbers is an urgent cry for help that requires us to step things up a gear. Butterflies such as the Pearl Bordered Fritillary (not to be confused with the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary) are already extinct in Somerset.
We need your help to raise £30,000 to fund equipment and staff time to stop more of our iconic butterfly species heading the same way.
Please help to make Somerset a place where butterflies thrive once more. Thank you.
Text to save
Did you know that you can also donate to our butterfly appeal by text? Simply text BFLY03 and the amount you would like to donate (e.g. £10) to 70070 to make a donation via your mobile phone.
Donating to our appeal by text will only cost you the amount you choose to give - you will not be charged and your text allowance/bundle will not be affected. 100% of your text donation (including Gift Aid) will go towards our butterfly appeal.
Adopt to save
Adopting Somerset's wildlife is a great way to help protect it. Purchase a virtual adoption pack for Grizzled Skipper, Large Blue or Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary and give a gift that really makes a difference to these threatened butterfly species.
The plight of Somerset's butterflies
Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterflies were once widespread across Somerset. In the early 1990s, as many as 50 individual butterflies were recorded on our Langford Heathfield nature reserve over a single flight period. Despite positive management, 2012's dreadful weather caused this number to drop to 15, and this year only six butterflies have been recorded. April - July 2013 is widely considered to be the worst period in recent years for these species.
Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary (c) Matthew Marshall www.mjmarshall.co.uk
Large Blue Butterfly
The Large Blue butterfly is one of the world's most threatened species - it is incredibly sensitive to poor weather conditions and needs very careful management. Prior to their reintroduction to Somerset Wildlife Trust's Green Down nature reserve in 1992, Large Blue butterflies had been extinct in the UK. We now host the largest colony in the world, enabling colonisation of some smaller, satellite sites. Despite this success, Large Blue butterflies remain vulnerable, as evidenced by the 50% decline in egg numbers on our Green Down nature reserve twelve months on from the incredibly wet summer of 2012.
Large Blue Butterfly (c) Lynne Netwton www.lynnenewtonfoxybiddy.zenfolio.com
Grizzled Skipper butterflies are a good indicator of landscape-scale, species-rich, calcareous grassland. Monitoring over the last 10 years has indicated that where land has been positively managed for Grizzled Skippers, their population has remained stable. This is not the whole picture though, as while on good sites the population has remained stable, habitat fragmentation leaves the species vulnerable to local extinction.
Grizzled Skipper (c) Heath McDonald www.mendipwildlifephotography.co.uk