Sir David Attenborough wants us to ‘forget Brexit’ and count butterflies

Sir David Attenborough wants us to ‘forget Brexit’ and count butterflies

The big butterfly count is a nationwide survey in the United Kingdom aimed at helping to assess the health of the environment. It's part of the world's largest butterfly count organised by the Butterfly Conservation. The legendary naturalist has done just that, urging people to put their differences aside regarding Brexit and to count butterflies.

The UK has experienced the right combination of a cold winter and a settled late spring and summer so far this year, enabling spring butterflies to thrive.

"I have been privileged to have witnessed some truly breath-taking wildlife spectacles in far-flung locations but some of my most memorable experiences have happened when I've been simply sitting and watching the wildlife that lives where I do", he said.

Sir McBoatface says spending time with nature offers "precious breathing space" from modern life, while the butterflies in particular help him take his mind off "the woes of Brexit". People in Suffolk are being encouraged to spot and record 17 species of common butterflies and two types of day-flying moths until August 12.

This year's survey is particularly important because of the ongoing heatwave in many parts of the United Kingdom: the drought in 1976 decimated populations of butterflies.

Despite the largest number of people taking part in the survey previous year the average number of butterflies seen per 15 minute count was the lowest recorded since the survey started.

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The group says butterflies react very quickly to environmental changes, making them excellent indicators of biodiversity. Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses, according to Butterfly Conservation.

The Big Butterfly Count starts this week and is the world's largest butterfly survey.

In 2017, altogether, 62,547 counts were submitted by over 60,400 participants, a 64 per cent increase in the number of counts and a 66 per cent increase in the number of people taking part compared with 2016.

"Female butterflies lay so many eggs that if only a tiny proportion of them survive then they are doing quite well, but if conditions are good, then you will actually get a lot of butterflies of different kinds and we hope we will."Listing his own favourite types of the insect - which, along with bumblebees, are crucial to ecosystems - he continued: "The Peacock is one of the most lovely, and happily one of the commoner ones".

He added that this year's count looks "pretty promising at the moment", partly due to the warm weather over recent weeks, adding: "Butterflies can bounce back".

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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