Nature is in decline but the future’s bright for butterflies

Nature is in decline but the future’s bright for butterflies

Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterfly © MWT/Tammy Stretton

Russell George AM champions projects to protect rare species
state of nature

On Wednesday 21 September, a coalition of more than 50 leading conservation bodies across Wales will unite to highlight the state of nature in Wales.

Following the groundbreaking State of Nature: Wales report in 2013, leading experts from 50 wildlife and research organisations have pooled knowledge and expertise to present an even clearer picture of the status of Wales’ wildlife. The 2016 report reveals that 56% of species studied have declined across the UK over the last 50 years. In Wales, one in 14 species is heading for extinction – with a worrying 57% of wild plants, 60% of butterflies and 40% of birds in decline.

There is some positive news, however, because the rare Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterfly is faring better thanks to a partnership project between Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, Butterfly Conservation Trust and Natural Resources Wales. The Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterfly has declined by 88% in Wales over the last 20 years and survives at just 12 sites in Montgomeryshire.

Russell George AM for Montgomeryshire is helping to conserve the rare butterfly as part of his role as Species Champion. He will take part in visits and conservation activities and promote the species at the Senedd. He said:

"The last remaining stronghold of the Pearl-bordered Fritillary is in my constituency and I applaud Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust for its work to protect this beautiful species. When implemented well, conservation measures work and can help reverse species and habitat decline. Today’s report highlights the worrying decline of nature here in Wales and across the UK. We all have a role to play in countering that."

Habitat for the Pearl-bordered Fritillary has been carefully managed at key sites in the area, and from 2009 to 2011, adult butterflies were released at Llanymynech Rocks Nature Reserve which is owned and managed by Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust.

Tammy Stretton, Conservation Officer for Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, said:

"Monitoring shows a positive long-term trend for the Pearl-bordered Fritillary in Wales and we’re pleased that management at Llanymynerch Rocks has been successful. However, the population trajectory is still extremely fragile and the condition of the remaining sites will deteriorate rapidly if management is not sustained."

The State of Nature 2016 Wales report can be downloaded below. For more information and the full report, head to