An amazing species revival story! The return of the Large Blue Butterfly in the United Kingdom is being celebrated just 30 years after scientists declared that it was extinct from that region.
The Large Blue Butterfly was re-introduced to the UK from Sweden, about 25 years ago, and is doing well again thanks to a prop in the habitat of certain red ants on which the Large Blue caterpillars feed. The ants first disappeared due to changes in grazing practices, and the butterflies vanished as well.
Subsequently, suitable habitat for the ants, caterpillars – and of course, the butterflies – was restored on 50 sites in south west England.
Things are going so well now that population levels are now close to numbers not seen since the 1950s. Some are calling it the most successful insect re-introduction program in the world, as a matter of fact!
But not all butterfly news is so peachy. In April this year, the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme determined that 12 butterfly species have suffered the worst summer on record, and that numbers of the fragile beauties are at their lowest levels in a quarter century. To blame? Wet summers and cool temperatures that many believe to be the result of global climate change.