Endangered Marsh Fritillary Butterfly given a helping hand
Disruption of natural habitat remains a key factor in the extinction of species. When such disruption occurs or is inevitable, we rely on the good nature of mankind to step up to the plate. Luckily for the marsh fritillary butterfly, a group of volunteers have developed a better home for them in Lullymore West Bog, Co.Kildare.
The call for help was issued by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC). The IPCC own and manage Lullymore West Bog for rare butterflies, where they monitor 25 different species of butterfly on a weekly basis from the months April-September. The marsh fritillary is one of the butterflies who resides in West Bog, and it remains an endangered species throughout Europe. This is due to its reliance on a plant called Devil’s-bit-scabious, which can only survive in sunny open area’s.
The problem arose in Lullymore West Bog over a period of time, when small birchlands made their way into grasslands and developed into tiny trees. A group of volunteers helped remove hundreds of tiny trees, thereby getting rid of the temporary shade and allowing the Devils-bit-scabious to prosper. As IPCC’s Campaign Officer Katie Geraghty said: “We needed help to clear away small birch seedlings that had invaded the wet grassland over time. It was a great day and we managed to clear hundreds of trees from the site”.
The volunteers efforts have restored the natural conditions which are vital for the survival of the marsh fritillary. This allows it to rejoin the 25 other different species of butterfly in Lullymore West Bog, which remains a vital breeding ground for butterflies in Ireland.
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