BBC Wildlife Magazine

The Last But­ter­flies


- Richard Jones En­to­mol­o­gist

Six rare but­ter­flies, each on the brink of ex­tinc­tion – what would be the last­ing im­pact of their dis­ap­pear­ance? Prob­a­bly noth­ing, ex­cept but­ter­flies are rel­a­tively well stud­ied and with each loss comes con­comi­tant loss of myr­iad less-well-known or­gan­isms. But­ter­flies are the lens through which we can ap­pre­ci­ate en­vi­ron­men­tal health or degra­da­tion. So far, each species has a re­cov­ery tale to tell, but fierce habi­tat man­age­ment in the face of cli­mate change and ur­ban en­croach­ment takes a steady nerve. Had­dad elo­quently ar­gues that con­serv­ing but­ter­flies is not about pre­serv­ing an or­gan­ism or habi­tat in as­pic – that way lies stag­na­tion and de­cline – it’s about en­abling a dy­namic and re­silient en­vi­ron­ment.

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