September 2, 2008

Volunteer Grant AIDS Butterfly Preservation

Young people working to protect a delicate endangered butterfly have received a financial boost. The funding will help members of the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) charity regenerate the habitat of the pearl-bordered fritillary on Bodmin Moor.

The aid is from GreenPrints, a volunteering programme that offers funding and practical support for projects that improve the environment, carried out by people aged 16 to 25.

Organiser Betty Levene said: "This butterfly was once widespread but has suffered a major decline in the last 20 years due to a reduction in coppicing (cutting young tree stems to allow the stumps to regenerate) in woodland, a decline in open areas in forests and incorrect habitat management."

In May, the WMN reported that numbers of pearl-bordered fritillaries were increasing dramatically in Devon due to conservation efforts. A 20-year survey of pearl-bordered and small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies at Devon Wildlife Trust's Marshland nature reserve showed numbers had risen by over 200 per cent.

Nationally, the butterflies have declined by 50 per cent.

The 212-hectare site on the North Devon coast is one of the most closely monitored for butterflies in the South West, supporting five species of fritillary.

Last year, it received funding from the North Devon AONB Sustainable Development Fund to boost numbers further.

DWT nature reserves officer Gary Pilkington said the butterflies thrived in areas with the right bracken control, scrub management and open ground.

The pounds2 million GreenPrints programme is funded by SITA Trust, a funding organisation that supports community and environmental improvement projects, and the youth volunteering charity V.

The funding allocated has enabled BTCV to run practical conservation days at De Lank, near St Breward, and at Bunny's Hill, near Cardinham.

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