Rare Butterfly Flutters Into Festival

Chequered Skipper

Wildlife-lovers are invited to spot one of Scotland’s rarest butterflies - the Chequered Skipper - at this year’s Wild Lochaber Festival in the West Highlands.

The small butterfly, which boasts mustard flashes on its chocolate-coloured upper wings, is only found within a 30-mile radius of Fort William, in sunny glades or along the edges of damp woodland from mid-May to the end of June.

Butterfly Conservation’s Highlands and Islands Branch have organised a free guided walk in Glen Nevis to find this fast-flying beauty, which became extinct in England in 1976.

The walk takes place on Saturday 17th May, the first day of the week-long Wild Lochaber Festival, set up in 2012 to celebrate the areas wildlife and geology.

The day will begin with an indoor presentation introducing all 22 butterfly species found in this part of the Highlands. Butterfly Conservation’s senior conservation officer for Scotland, Tom Prescott, will lead the activities.

Tom explains: “The Wild Lochaber Festival was set up to showcase the beautiful wildlife here and butterflies play a big role in that. As indicators of a healthy environment, we need more people to record the species they see so we can keep an eye on how everything is doing.”

He added: “The Chequered Skipper is particularly special, as this is the only place it can be found anywhere in the UK. People living in Fort William really should take advantage of that and join us in looking for it.”

Sightings of the rare butterfly will also contribute to the Butterfly Conservation 2014 Scottish Chequered Skipper Survey. Statistics from the last two years show its distribution may have been greatly underestimated.

Notes

If you see a Chequered Skipper, or to find out how you can help, visit www.butterfly-conservation.org/chequeredskipper

To find out more about this Butterfly Conservation Highlands and Islands event, please visit:

http://butterfly-conservation.org/313-5295/highlands---beautiful-butterflies-and-magical-moths.html

To find out more about Wild Lochaber Festival 2014, visit:

http://www.outdoorcapital.co.uk/whats-on/wild-lochaber-festival-2014

Contacts

For pictures or interviews please contact Tom Prescott on 07979 785 665 or 01540 661469. Email or tprescott@butterfly-conservation.org or news@butterfly-conservation.org

Butterfly Conservation is the largest charity of its type in the world. Our aim is the conservation of butterflies, moths and their habitats. We run conservation programmes for more than 100 threatened species and manage over 30 nature reserves.