The Great British Butterfly Hunt
by Butterfly Conservation
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The Independent launches an innovative wildlife project...
With millions of people worried about their jobs, The Independent newspaper, in association with Butterfly Conservation, is offering some relief from the gloom by helping readers to find, watch and delight in some of the countryside's loveliest creatures: the 58 species of butterfly that grace Britain's heathlands and hedgerows, fields and forests - and indeed, when we are lucky, our own gardens.
Journalist Mike McCarthy has embarked on the Great British Butterfly Hunt. His quest is to find and report on each one of our 58 varieties (56 residents and two Continental migrants) - from the Glanville fritillary, found only on the Isle of Wight, to the chequered skipper, now occurring just in the Scottish Highlands. In a mixture of safari, national health check and conservation campaign, the Independent will report from the Norfolk Broads on the state of the swallowtail, from the oak woods of Hampshire on the purple emperor, and from the hills of Somerset on the large blue, a lovely insect that became extinct in Britain in 1979 but has now been reintroduced, and - in a conservation miracle - is breeding again. Look out for regular reports from right across the country on every single species.
You can join the Great British Butterfly Hunt and see how many you can observe for yourselves.
The person or group (such as a school class) which records the most species will win a special safari in late August, to find the last butterfly of the summer - the Brown Hairstreak, the most elusive of all our butterflies.
Dr Martin Warren, Butterfly Conservation's Chief Executive, will lead the prize safari. He emphasises the benefits of taking part in the hunt: "Butterflies are nature's artwork, symbolising both the beauty and fragility of the natural world. In Britain, we are fortunate that some of our most common species are also the most enchanting."
If you have any questions or require more information about this press release, please contact Butterfly Conservation by email.