David Drew appointed 'Species Champion' for the Large Blue Butterfly
Press release issued by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
Rare butterflies are thriving for another season at a nature reserve in the Stroud Valleys. In 1999 the Large Blue Butterfly, which became extinct in the UK in the 1970s, was reintroduced to Daneway Banks Nature Reserve, near Sapperton.
Healthy numbers of Large Blue Butterflies are currently being seen at the nature reserve which is owned by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the Royal Entomological Society, purchased following a successful public appeal in 2015.
The end of this year’s flight season was celebrated on Friday 13 July with a visit by David Drew MP, who plays an important role as the national ‘Species Champion’ in Parliament for the Large Blue Butterfly, having been nominated for the role by the charity Butterfly Conservation.
“I am honoured to have been appointed as the Large Blue Champion and to see it thriving in its natural habitat here in Gloucestershire. I was delighted to visit Daneway Banks to see nature conservation work at its best, with different organisations working well together to protect our wildlife,” said Mr Drew.
Mr Drew was joined by Roger Mortlock, CEO at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust; Julian Bendle, Back from the Brink Cotswolds Conservation Officer at Butterfly Conservation; and Luke Tilley, CEO of the Royal Entomological Society.
“The population of Large Blue Butterflies at Daneway Banks is thriving thanks to support from a wide range of individuals and organisations, including local volunteers who help us to manage the site throughout the year, and Grundon Waste Management who have provided vital funding,” says Alan Sumnall, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Stroud Valleys Reserves Manager. “Stroud District is now a stronghold for this beautiful butterfly and has one of the largest populations in Europe.”
The Back from the Brink project is possible thanks to the National Lottery and People’s Postcode Lottery and aims to save 20 species from extinction. In the Cotswolds, Back from the Brink is working to restore and connect a network of limestone grassland sites which will in turn help the conservation prospects of 30 rare and threatened species, including the iconic large blue butterfly.
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust is a charity which manages 60 nature reserves around the county, including several in Stroud district.