Today marks the beginning of a national Butterfly count, as part of the Making Butterflies Count campaign which began in 2010, and set up by Marks and Spencer as part of their new environmental commitment to encourage sustainable agriculture.
With 58 different species of butterfly and more than 2,500 moths, the British countryside was once littered with these delicate, colourful animals but today half of our native moth and butterfly species are threatened in the wild, and 64 have become extinct in the last century.
The Small Tortoiseshell
The main reason for such drastic declines in butterfly and moth population numbers is the damage or total loss of their native habitats. Although relatively adaptable creatures, butterflies rely on native wild flowers to survive, many of which are becoming rarer due to land cultivation and pesticides.
Butterfly population numbers are currently at the lowest they have been due to drastic declines over the past few years. The cooler, wetter summers that we have seen in the UK, coupled with one of the coldest winters in decades has meant that fewer butterflies have been seen this year than ever before.
In order to get a better understanding of what is going on, Marks and Spencer have teamed up with Butterfly Conservation to launch a new nationwide survey to encourage the public to help count our butterflies. The Butterfly Count is from 24th July until the 1st August, so why not spend 10 minutes in the garden and don't forget to record what you see.