South East Wales

Tree planting in Cardiff in bid to boost rare butterfly

White-letter Hairstreak butterfly Image copyright Butterfly Conservation

Volunteers in Cardiff are set to plant trees across the city in a bid to boost the population of a rare butterfly.

The number of White-letter Hairstreak butterflies has been in decline since the 1970s following the outbreak of Dutch elm disease.

Buglife's Urban Buzz project will be planting elm trees resistant to the disease at sites including Bute Park and Forest Farm from Saturday.

Conservation officer Michelle Bales said it hoped to "make a difference".

According to the project, the White-letter Hairstreak has declined by 53% in the UK over the past 45 years.

The butterfly breeds and lays eggs on elms and the tree is also a food source for its caterpillars.

"If we really want to make a difference to declining insect populations it is important to provide habitat not only for the adult forms, such as butterflies, but all stages of the insect's life cycle which is often overlooked," Ms Bales said.

Russel Hobson, head of Butterfly Conservation Wales, said: "Bute Park is a known hotspot for this butterfly in Cardiff so it is great that the Urban Buzz project is able to link up populations so they continue to thrive in future."

The planting coincides with National Tree Week, which runs from Saturday until 4 December, and will continue into 2017.

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