David Attenborough Wants You to Go Outside and Count Butterflies

By Tom Pritchard on at

These days people who go outside are usually too busy looking at their phones to appreciate the world around them. Tweeting, texting, playing Pokémon Go, or handing over their personal information to anyone who asks nicely enough. But there's something else you can do, and its endorsed by Boaty McBoatface himself Sir David Attenborough. So get yourselves outside and start counting butterflies.

Sir McBoatface says spending time with nature offers "precious breathing space" from modern life, while the butterflies in particular help him take his mind off "the woes of Brexit". Now he's encouraging everyone else to do the same, and spend 15 minutes outside keeping count of the butterflies they see. It's part of the world's largest butterfly count organised by the Butterfly Conservation.

Currently conditions we've experience, a cold winter followed by a hot spring and summer, are ideal for butterflies to flourish, but their numbers could tank if these conditions reach drought levels and caterpillars run out of plants to eat. So Butterfly Conservation is asking people to spend the next three weeks keeping a tally of all the British butterflies they see out in the world.

Over 60,000 people submitted counts during last year's count, the largest ever, but it found that butterflies populations were the lowest they'd been since the count started back in 2010 - something that was attributed to the particularly wet summer we experience last year. While numbers are likely to increase at the moment, Butterfly Conservation says around 3/4 of British species are on the decline. But we won't know until people go out and get counting.

Just make sure you don't get sunburn! [BBC News]