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Butterfly expert walking Jurassic Coast to help protect two of Dorset’s rarest butterflies

PUBLISHED: 11:41 23 July 2015 | UPDATED: 11:42 23 July 2015

Dr Warren at Durdle Door

Dr Warren at Durdle Door

Archant

One of the UK’s leading butterfly experts is walking the Jurassic Coast to raise funds to protect two of Dorset’s rarest butterflies – the Wood White and Duke of Burgundy

Butterfly Conservation Chief Executive, Dr Martin Warren, is walking the Jurassic Coast this summer to help save three rare butterflies including two of Dorset’s rarest butterflies. The Wood White, whose numbers have declined by 80%, is now found in only 40-45 sites including the undercliffs between Sidmouth and Lyme Regis; and the Duke of Burgundy, which occurs in small colonies across southern England in areas of tall grassland with abundant cowslips, has just seven sites in Dorset.

The hike coincides with the charity’s annual Big Butterfly Count, which runs from 17 July to 9 August and is the world’s largest insect citizen science project. It’s an initiative supported by the Butterfly Conservation President, Sir David Attenborough: “Every single person taking part in the Big Butterfly Count can produce a statistic that is of real value as their records help build a picture of how butterflies are faring and how we can best conserve them.”

Dr Warren, who will be joined on his butterfly quest by BBC Springwatch presenter Nick Baker, Butterfly Isles author and Guardian journalist Patrick Barkham and veteran butterfly expert Matthew Oates, is aiming to complete a record 150 counts during his seven-day walk.

“Three quarters of the UK’s butterfly species have declined in the last ten years – and they really need our help,” says Dr Warren. “The Jurassic Coast is one of the most important coastal sites for some of our rarest butterflies including the Wood White, Lulworth Skipper and Adonis Blue.”

Dr Warren’s hike starts on Monday 27 July at Orcombe Point, Exmouth, Devon and finishes on Sunday 2 August at Swanage, Dorset. All funds raised will go towards Butterfly Conservation projects in Devon and Dorset to save remaining colonies of Wood White, Duke of Burgundy and High Brown Fritillary. Follow Martin’s progress on Twitter @martinswarren.

To join in this year’s Big Butterfly Count visit butterfly-conservation.org

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