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Country News - 2004

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Butterfly watchers needed in the Dales

Wednesday 26 May 2004

DESPITE being largely uplands, the Yorkshire Dales are home to some 25 species of butterflies – and scientists are asking locals and visitors to help them gather more data about their habits and locations.

To ensure their future survival – many butterfly species have been decimated and some driven to the point of extinction in Britain in recent years – conservationists urgently need to know more about their habitats.

And to address this knowledge gap, members of the public are being asked to record glimpses of green hairstreaks and small heaths.

To make the identification process easier, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has joined forces with English Nature and the charity Butterfly Conservation to produce a new leaflet.

The publication contains life-size colour illustrations and detailed background information about the preferred habitat of 27 different species of butterfly.

Sightings can be recorded on special sheets and then returned to any National Park Centre or the Park Authority's offices in Grassington or Bainbridge.

Ian Court, Species Officer at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: "We are hoping visitors and residents will use this leaflet to identify the butterflies they see while out and about this summer.

"By sending in records of their sightings, they will be helping us to determine the distribution of butterfly species across the National Park. This information will enable us to monitor population changes and help ensure important butterfly sites are managed properly.

"There is no need to visit any specific areas, as records of butterflies in your own garden can be just as important in helping us work out whether butterfly populations are changing."

The Authority is inviting primary schools inside and outside the National Park to get involved in the project. For more information please contact Ian Court on 01756 752748 or email ian.court@yorkshiredales.org.uk


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