More than 36,000 people took part in this year’s Count, spotting around 390,000 butterflies during the three-week mid-summer recording period. 

What did the survey tell us?

Firstly, that butterflies have had a tough year, with the majority of butterfly species studied as part of the scheme seeing their populations fall, with some producing their lowest numbers since the Big Butterfly Count scheme began.

Reasons why butterflies have struggled despite favourable summer weather conditions are as yet unclear.

Butterfly Conservation’s Head of Recording, Richard Fox, said: “The drop in butterfly numbers this summer has been a shock and is a bit of a mystery. When we have cold, wet summers, as in 2012, we expect butterfly populations to plummet, but that can’t have been the case this year.

The summer months were warmer than usual, yet most Big Butterfly Count participants saw fewer butterflies. Perhaps the very mild winter had a negative effect, or the cold spring, or perhaps the impacts of intensive farming and pesticides are really hitting these common species now.

The importance of Big Butterfly Count is that it takes place every year over a long period; the longer it goes on the more we can learn about the causes that are driving the declines and in some cases, increases of our beautiful butterfly species. We are really grateful to the many thousands of people across the UK who do their bit to help butterflies by taking part in the Big Butterfly Count each summer.”

Thank you for taking part

We’d like to thank all the children, teachers and parents who took part in the world’s biggest citizen science project, which took place between 15th July - 7th August 2016.

Stephen Cawley, Head of Sustainability and Responsible Sourcing at John Lewis, said: “At John Lewis we are passionate about supporting local communities and putting something back in and so as part of our schools' programme, Bringing Skills to Life, we’re pleased to have supported the Big Butterfly Count over the summer months. It's projects like this nationwide study that help future generations to learn about science in an exciting way - at the same time, they are undertaking valuable research into what's happening to our environment."

Full results can be found at www.bigbutterflycount.org

 

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