David Attenborough Wants You to Go Outside and Count Butterflies

Federico Mansilla
Julio 23, 2018

'Spending time with nature enables us to experience joy and wonder, to slow down and to appreciate the wildlife that lives side by side with us'.

Naturalist David Attenborough suggested the British public take a break from squabbling over Brexit and instead take part in the world's biggest count of butterflies.

"Some of my most memorable experiences have happened when I've been simply sitting and watching the wildlife that lives where I do", Butterfly Conservation president and veteran broadcaster said.

Speaking on the show to promote the World's Biggest Butterfly Count, the 92-year-old demanded that the presenter keep on topic when she drifted into other topics.

The Big Butterfly Count, organised by Butterfly Conservation and sponsored by B&Q, asks people to spot and record 17 species of common butterflies and two day-flying moths during three weeks of high summer.

The UK's butterflies are basking in the best summer conditions for more than a decade, with hot sunny weather enabling widespread species to fly, feed and breed.

Small copper butterfly
Sir David Attenborough appears unimpressed in awkward BBC Breakfast interview – Ireland

More than three-quarters of the UK's butterflies have declined in the last 40 years, with some common species, such as the small tortoiseshell, suffering significant slumps.

Sir David has also stressed the importance of the country's bee decline, and has urged anyone who finds a struggling insect give them sugar water to revive them back to health.

To take part in the Count, find a sunny spot anywhere in the United Kingdom and spend 15 minutes counting the butterflies you see and then submit sightings online at www.bigbutterflycount.org or via the free Big Butterfly Count app.

Butterflies react very quickly to change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators.

Information gathered will be used to help with protecting butterflies in the future. A mere 10.9 individuals per count were recorded, down from 12.2 in 2016, according to Butterfly Conversation.

"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".

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