Peacock Butterfly

Why are britain's butterflies in decline?

We're sponsoring the Big Butterfly Count


Half of Britains butterflies have been placed on the UK's Red List.

Butterfly Conservation has issued a warning that we're pushing butterflies to the brink. Their latest Red List assessment of butterflies revealed that there was a 26% increase in the number of species threatened with extinction. 

Head of Science for Butterfly Conservation, Dr Richard Fox, says:

“Shockingly, half of Britain’s remaining butterfly species are listed as threatened or Near Threatened on the new Red List. Even prior to this new assessment, British butterflies were among the most threatened in Europe, and now the number of threatened species in Britain has increased by five, an increase of more than one-quarter. While some species have become less threatened, and a few have even dropped off the Red List, the overall increase clearly demonstrates that the deterioration of the status of British butterflies continues apace.”


Why is this?

There are a number of reasons why butterflies are declining. It's important we understand the current siutation of our natural world and what is causing these drastic population fluctuations, so we can act to help reverse this.


1. Habitat Loss

One of the biggest causes of butterfly species decline, is the ever-changing ways we use land. With more developments being built to make room for the growing human population, habitats are lost or jeopardised.

Climate Change

2. Climate Change

The gradual rise in the average temperature of the planet has affected the natural cycle of some butterflies. Butterflies are warmth lovers, which means some species have been emerging earlier and shrinking quicker. Single generation species (one life cycle per year) are the most vulnerable because they cannot benefit from the extra breeding time and the earlier emergence means they could be out of sync with the season, particularly for their diets.

Intensive Farming

3. Intensive Farming

Spraying chemicals on crops to enhance them has been the subject of controversy for sometime. A study conducted by Butterfly Conservation sought to better understand if the use of some harsh chemicals in farming was the cause of a rapid decline in farmland butterflies, such as the small tortoiseshell, small skipper and wall butterfly.


What can we do to help?

Gardening for butterflies

Turn your garden into a habitat

Plant up butterfly friendly blooms to help counteract the growing decline of our butterflies. You garden could help save species.

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Big Butterfly Count

Get Counting

As sponsors of the Big Butterfly Count, we want as many people as possible to be out spotting what butterflies they see. It's vital to record our findings with the Butterfly Conservation to help save species.

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Gardening for butterflies

Gardening for good

Get your garden butterfly friendly with our step-by-step guide

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10 ways you can help butterflies

10 ways you can help butterflies

We speak to experts at the Butterfly Conservation to find out the top 10 ways you can help butterflies thrive.

Act now

Butterfly Conservation work on a number of projects across the UK to help tackle these issues, such as habitat creation, land management and recording or monitoring. Head over to their website at to find out more.


Bird feeding

Go one step further

Welcome garden birds into your green space too, not just butterflies!

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Big Butterfly Count

Top 5 spaces to spot butterflies

Read our top 5 places to spot butterflies for the Big Butterfly Count.

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Plants for wildlife

Browse our range of butterfly friendly plants and turn your garden into a thriving habitat.

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