If you need a reminder of how important conservation efforts are for the survival of animals, look no further than the high brown fritillary. Considered by many to be the UK’s rarest butterfly, careful efforts from groups such as Butterfly Conservation have helped this delicate insect to bounce back from a 90 per cent decrease since the 1970s.
In 2014, the species experienced a remarkable comeback, with a 180 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Alongside ongoing work to conserve the fritillary’s previously neglected habitat, warm spring weather helped the insects to flourish.
It’s not just charities and the weather that the insects have to thank: cows, specifically a herd of Luing cattle, were used to graze bracken in the butterfly’s rural habitat. This allowed violets to grow, which the fritillaries rely on for feeding. Conservation grazing like this helps to maintain a variety of important habitats around the UK.