Save the South East’s Pearls

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (upperwing)

Urgent action is required to conserve the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Pearl-bordered Fritillary in South East England, where they are at risk of local extinction.

Both species are highly vulnerable to changes that have occurred in traditional woodland management. Butterfly populations have slumped dramatically where their precious habitat has been lost and destroyed.

Although most species of butterfly can recover rapidly when conditions are favourable, numbers of the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary were, in 2013, the lowest ever recorded. There is a real risk this butterfly could soon disappear altogether from the south east. It is known of at just one location in East Sussex and at four sites in Hampshire, having already been lost from Surrey, West Sussex, Kent and the Isle of Wight.

The closely related Pearl-bordered Fritillary is slightly less vulnerable, but it too has suffered serious declines. Between 1995-1999 and 2005-2009 it declined by 43% across the UK and it is currently found on just 15 sites in the region.

Please help us to give these beautiful butterflies a long-term future.

To give both species the best chance to recover and re-establish sustainable populations we plan to launch an ambitious programme to restore and reconnect large areas of good fritillary habitat in woodland across South East England.

This is a long-term project and it will be challenging work, but we think it would be a tragedy to lose these delightful butterflies.

We will be working closely with woodland owners to create and improve butterfly habitat on land close to the existing known sites for these fritillaries, including our reserves at Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood in East Sussex.

We are applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a substantial grant but for our bid to succeed, we will need to raise at least 5% of the project costs from our own resources. We must also demonstrate to the HLF that we have significant backing for our conservation plans from the public and from our members.

Our immediate target is to raise at least £20,000 and to attract 1,000 pledges of support for our proposed Lottery-funded project.

Please pledge your support and make a donation today