An urgent appeal has been launched to give a threatened butterfly a better chance of survival in 2012.
Somerset Wildlife Trust has launched the appeal to create more habitat for the foodplant on which the rare Chalkhill Blue’s caterpillars feed.
The number of places where the butterfly can be seen in Somerset have almost halved, in recent years. The Mendip Hills are one of only a handful of strongholds for the Chalkhill Blue in the UK. The area’s limestone grasslands are ideal places for horseshoe vetch, the only plant that the caterpillars eat.
Michele Bowe, Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Mendip Hills Living Landscape manager, said: “The Chalkhill Blue butterfly is an iconic species of Mendip’s limestone grasslands and to focus efforts on the butterfly in 2012 we need to raise £20,000.
“To avoid localised extinctions in an already fragile population we need to create more of the habitat the Chalkhill Blue needs.”
Scientific research shows that if suitable habitat is created, or restored, close to existing butterfly populations, the Chalkhill Blue will naturally colonise it. The trust has already identified 396 hectares – an area almost twice the size of Shepton Mallet – of limestone grassland in need of conservation restoration or management across Mendips.
You can help give the Chalkhill Blue butterfly a new beginning in 2012 by donating at www.somersetwildlife.org/butterflyappeal.