Suffolk butterfly action backed by Sir David Attenborough
- Credit: Archant
Butterfly Conservation plans habitat work at Blaxhall Common
Sir David Attenborough is urging Suffolk nature lovers to join in UK wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation’s 50th anniversary celebrations by helping one of the county’s rarest and most iconic heathland species.
The nation’s favourite natural history broadcaster - the charity’s president - wants a national “butterfly birthday” action day on Saturday to be marked in Suffolk in the biggest and most effective way possible. Butterfly Conservation is celebrating its landmark birthday with the UK-wide conservation work day and hopes a record number of people will carry out practical work to improve and create habitats for their local butterfly and moth species.
Butterflies and moths certainly need all the help they can get - the charity says the UK has lost more than three-quarters of its butterflies and two-thirds of its larger moths in the last 40 years.
In Suffolk, the action day is focused on Blaxhall Common, near Snape, which is one of the finest remaining areas of the county’s coastal Sandling heaths that once stretched almost continuously from Felixstowe to Lowestoft. The practical conservation work will enhance the common primarily for the silver-studded blue butterfly, a highly specialised heathland species for which the Sandling heaths are a nationally important stronghold.
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Sir David Attenborough said: “Half a century ago a small group of naturalists became so concerned about the plight of the UK’s butterflies that they decided to join forces to protect them. That organisation became Butterfly Conservation and 50 years later the need for people who care about our butterflies and moths is greater than ever before.”
People could “do their bit for butterflies” by taking part in the national action day on Saturday, March 10. “By working together we can all take some simple steps to provide butterflies with a future,” added Sir David.
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The charity’s Suffolk branch and Suffolk Wildlife Trust will be carrying out the work at Blaxhall from 10.30am to 2.30pm. Conservation tasks will involve improving and creating habitat to help silver-studded blues and other heathland species.
Branch chairman Peter Maddison said Blaxhall Common, beside the B1069 Tunstall-Snape road, was a “wonderful site” for butterflies and many other forms of specialised heathland wildlife. People could join the work for as long as they liked. Tools would be provided but long-staying volunteers were asked to bring their own lunch.
“Butterfly Conservation branches all over the UK will be holding similar anniversary events on March 10, so this could end up being one of the biggest conservation days in its history,” Mr Maddison added.
Butterfly Conservation was founded in March 1968 and is one of the largest insect conservation organisations in the world. It runs projects to protect more than 100 threatened species, as well as conserving hundreds of sites and reserves across the country.
More information about action day events can be found at www.butterfly-conservation.org/events