Posted 17th Jul 2017
Sir David Attenborough has warned that butterflies in the UK are facing a crucial period after they faced a worrying decline in numbers
He said some of the country's most common species have faced a 'significant decline' in recent years, with many experiencing 'several poor years'. This has been attributed to cold weather and the threat the species face.
Sir David did say the warm weather this year has given some species, such as the meadow brown and red admiral, 'a good start'.
Experts have said over three quarters of the UK's butterflies have declined in the last 40 years, with numbers falling quicker in towns and cities.
Sir David, president of the Butterfly Conservation, has said that despite a warm summer last year, species like the small tortoiseshell, peacock, meadow brown and gatekeeper had seen numbers fall due to warm weather and a subsequent cold spring.
Sir David added: "Worryingly, we are now seeing the fortunes of some of our once common butterflies mirror those of our rarest species and they too are now also suffering significant declines with butterflies declining more rapidly in urban areas than in the countryside".
"In the last decade our butterflies have experienced several poor years and although resilient, they simply cannot sustain repeated losses, especially if the habitats they need in order to rebuild their populations are also under threat."
While 2017 has been a good year for species so far, Sir David added: "Butterflies really need this to continue."
Members of the public were urged to participate in the annual Big Butterfly Count to see if common species are able to bounce back this year.
Image courtesy of Pixabay