The Big Butterfly Count is an annual event which runs from mid-July to the first week in August and it’s a vital tool for us to assess the health of our environment.
Biodiversity loss is a massive problem which is happening all around the world. It’s an issue which affects us all; biological diversity links all of life on Earth. Our lives literally depend on it. Yet despite its importance, people have been using Earth’s natural resources at an unsustainable rate. Unsurprisingly, species and habitats are being lost as a result of our exploitation. Scientists believe that not only have we entered the ‘sixth mass extinction’, but that this mass extinction event is accelerating. It’s crucial that we do all we can to limit the damage that we’re doing.
Butterflies and moths are indicators of a healthy environment. If there are butterflies present in our local environment, then that’s a pretty good indication that a wide range of other invertebrates are there too. Butterflies are much easier to identify than most other insects, so by assessing which species of butterflies are present in our environment as well as how many there are, scientists can establish how healthy local habitats are.
The Big Butterfly Count this year is happening from Friday 17th July until Sunday 9th August. It’s really easy to take part, even if you don’t know your peacock butterflies from your painted ladies! Go to https://bigbutterflycount.butterfly-conservation.org/ and download the butterfly identification chart/app, spend 15 minutes counting butterflies and day-flying moths, then enter your results on the website or app. You can even see the results on an interactive map on the website.