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MS pays tribute to conservationists protecting threatened butterfly species in North Wales

Llyr Gruffydd MS with Alan Sumnall and Dot Williams

A MEMBER 0f the Senedd has paid tribute to conservationists who are protecting a threatened species of butterfly at a site in North Wales.

Llŷr Gruffydd, who represents the region in the Senedd, heard about how the Pearl-bordered Fritillary is flourishing at the Eyarth Rocks reserve, near Ruthin.

The Plaid Cymru politician recently met with the team from Butterfly Conservation Wales, which manages the site, as part of Biodiversity Day at the Senedd.

Their mission is the conservation of butterflies, moths and our environment.

The Pearl-bordered Fritillary was once very widespread but has declined rapidly in recent decades, and is now highly threatened in England and Wales.

Because of this it is listed on Section 7 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016, and it is regarded as a high priority for conservation.

The Eyarth Rocks reserve is part of Craig-adwy-wynt, which is one of the richest butterfly sites in North Wales.

Of the species found in the region, 32 of the 34 have been recorded on this limestone hill-top Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and most of them breed there too.

According to Butterfly Conservation Wales the population of Pearl-bordered Fritillary has grown strongly since 2002 when bought they and started managing the site.

The site provides magnificent views of the area and the limestone pavement flora found there is regarded as exceptional.

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Sheep are grazed on the reserve to help control the scrub growth and break up the bracken cover so that more violets can flourish for the Pearl-bordered Fritillary caterpillars to eat.

The limestone pavement of this hilltop reserve is considered some of the best to be found in Wales.

It is being carefully managed by Butterfly Conservation Wales to sustain North Wales’ strongest populations of the threatened Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterfly.

Other species to look out for at the site include the White-letter Hairstreak Grizzled Skipper Dingy Skipper Dark Green Fritillary Brown Argus and Common Blue.                                        

Llŷr Gruffydd MS said: “Butterfly Conservation Wales is doing incredibly important work to protect butterflies, moths and our environment.

“It was a pleasure to meet members of their team at the Senedd to hear about the extraordinarily rich habitat we have in North Wales that are helping the threatened Pearl-bordered Fritillary of butterfly flourish.

“We are extraordinary lucky in North Wales because in Eyarth Rocks we have on our doorstep one of the few places to spot the Pearl-Bordered Fritillary in the UK

“It is vital for us to preserve and protect our biodiversity in Wales so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.

“Butterflies and moths are natural indicators of how well or poorly the environment in a given area is doing.

“We have seen 80% of butterflies go into decline of abundance and distribution since the 1970s.

“There is a possibility that we could be the last generation to enjoy butterflies and moths in abundance, and that is why it is encouraging to see the work that Butterfly Conservation Wales is doing to ensure that this does not happen.”

Other organisations attending the event included the Badger Trust, Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, Campaign for National Parks, Cardiff Museum, ALERC, Hedgehog Helpline, National Trust, RSPB, National Peatland Action Programme, Plantlife Cymru, Wildlife Trust, and the WWF.