A wildlife charity is calling on nature enthusiasts in Edinburgh to help search for a once common butterfly, which has suffered a 68% decline across Scotland in the last 10 years.
Families are invited to take free guided butterfly walks at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Red Moss of Balerno reserve between 10am and 1pm and their sightings will be logged as part of the charity’s Big Butterfly Count – the largest butterfly survey in the world.
BC Scotland’s Peatland Project Officer, David Hill, said:
“The Small Tortoiseshell appears to be struggling everywhere, but we’ve seen a particularly worrying decline across Scotland.
“Counting butterflies contributes to valuable research on how each species is faring and also help us to piece together why declines are happening in the first place.
“This Big Butterfly Count event is the perfect opportunity to look for the Small Tortoiseshell, which is just beginning to emerge at the Red Moss of Balerno Wildlife Reserve - the only peatbog habitat in Edinburgh.”
The event on Sunday 28 July also takes place on International Bog Day – a world-wide awareness day to show people the value of peatlands and the threats they are facing.
“Many people don’t know that our peatbogs are being destroyed, with three billion litres of peat sold each year as compost for our gardens – despite there being other peat-free options available for people to use.
“Bogs provide a vital home for many beautiful butterflies and moths, as well as insect-eating plants and dragonflies, but they also store huge amounts of carbon, so are vital in the fight to tackle climate change. They also store water, which helps to reduce flooding risks.
“Please join us at Edinburgh’s last peatbog to see for yourself the amazing wildlife found here and help us secure a future for the Small Tortoiseshell butterfly in Scotland.”
Find out how to go peat free in your garden at www.butterfly-conservation.org/gopeatfree