Boost for Malvern's butterfly population as project combats decline - The Malvern Observer

Boost for Malvern's butterfly population as project combats decline

Malvern Editorial 14th Feb, 2024   0

OVER A hundred butterflies have been successfully reared and released into the wild in the Malvern Hills.

In the late 19th century, the Malvern field naturalists club recorded a flourishing diversity of butterflies around the Malvern Hills, with 46 species recorded in 1886.

Over the decades, this abundance dwindled alarmingly, with only 32 species noted in 2000.

The decline was accompanied by a catastrophic reduction in the numbers of individual species.

Mel Mason, from West Midlands butterfly conservation, shared promising programmes during a recent gathering of The Worcestershire wildlife trust.

He unveiled The Malvern Hills lost fritillaries project, aimed at resurrecting the decreasing population of the pearl-bordered fritillary, once prevalent on the Hills until the 1970s.

Mel and local volunteers, set up multiple sites across the Malvern Hills, Gloucestershire, and Herefordshire for the fritillary’s reintroduction.

He started his own breeding program and has released over 100 butterflies into the wild.

A team of volunteers have also cultivated hundreds of dog violets and sterilisation procedures to protect the vulnerable caterpillars from disease and predators.

Mel envisions expanding efforts to create a wildlife corridor connecting the Malvern Hills to the Wyre Forest, allowing the expansion of threatened species populations.

The upcoming meeting of the Malvern Local Group of The Worcestershire Wildlife Trust on March, 7, will look into the work of the Vale Heritage Landscape Trust, continuing the conversation on conservation and restoration efforts in the area.

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