Springwatch: British butterflies facing decline


Changes in the way our landscape is managed has contributed to a decline in the number of butterfly species found in the UK.

There are more than 50 species of British butterflies, but their numbers have declined over the last 30 years.

"Over the past three decades, three quarters of our butterfly species have declined which is a massive loss of many different species. Five species have become extinct in Britain completely," said Richard Fox, a surveys manager with Dorset-based Butterfly Conservation.

"The big problem our butterflies face is the loss in the traditional ways that we manage our farmland and forests. They are now increasingly restricted to small pockets of habitats in a sea of inhospitable terrain."

Despite the overall decline, in some parts of the country, the return of traditional land management in our woodlands has seen butterfly numbers boom. In Kent, the Heath Fritillary is now once again thriving.

Butterflies and moths are one of only two types of insects to have wings covered in tiny scales. These are very delicate and give the wings their colour.

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