Nature trust helps county to conserve its wildlife

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A butterfly missing from a Heysham nature reserve for more than 100 years is set to make a comeback.

The last record of the Large Heath butterfly at Heysham Moss was made at the beginning of the 20th Century.

It is likely that the population became extinct around that time, probably due to land drainage.

Now a project involving Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Chester Zoo and Lancashire Environmental Fund, aims to introduce theLarge Heath butterfly back to the Heysham reserve.

The trust’s North Lancashire Reserves Manager, Reuben Neville, said: “The Large Heath butterfly was formerly much more widespread in North West England, inhabiting lowland raised bog and occasionally blanket bog habitats.

“Now extinct in Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside, the Large Heath butterfly hangs on in just two widely separated sites in Lancashire. One is on the Bowland Fells, the other Winmarleigh Moss SSSI.

With funding from the Lancashire Environmental Fund and project partners Chester Zoo, it is hoped that they might once more fly and flourish on the reserve in Heysham.”

Chester Zoo recognises that conservation is as important here in Britain as it is elsewhere and works with many partners on UK conservation projects.

Biodiversity Officer Sarah Bird said: “We are excited to be able to support this project financially and are particularly thrilled to be able to use zoo expertise to help restore Large Heath butterflies to Heysham Moss.”

The project is due to start in late June or early July.