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News Report Page 6 of 11
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Wildlife charity, Butterfly Conservation, launches plea to public to help measure impacts of climate change while its scientists are in lockdown

LEADING wildlife charity, Butterfly Conservation, known for its sector leading butterfly and moth population data going back over 50 years, has launched a plea to the public to help contribute to assessing the effects of climate change while it's scientists and volunteers are unable to carry out monitoring of wildlife sites during the lockdown. A vital indicator of the effects of climate change in the UK, butterfly phenology (the study of the timing of natural events) recording is going to be severely affected this spring due to the restrictions on movement to halt the spread of Coronavirus. And the charity is calling for anyone at home with an outdoor space to help.

Richard Fox, Associate Director Recording and Research said:- "Studying the changing flight times and locations of butterfly species across the UK is vital to understanding the impacts of climate change on our native wildlife. This spring we are going to have a gap in our phenology data as our scientists and volunteers are not able to carry out their usual monitoring at nature reserves and across the UK countryside. So, we are asking the general public to please help us out. This is something you can do for science and climate change in your own back garden. We know that climate change is making butterflies emerge earlier in spring and some are spreading to new parts of the UK. We need you to tell us where and when you saw them."

Two new studies by the University of York, in collaboration with Butterfly Conservation and other partners have shed some light on how butterflies and moths are responding to climate change, but there are still many unanswered questions and trends are continuing to change. As the climate has warmed, butterflies have tended to fly earlier in the year and, in some cases, produce more generations each year, but it's not yet clear how these changes will affect their fortunes in the long term. Recent research suggests that an earlier start benefits some species, but is detrimental for others.

Richard continues:- "Keep a look out in your garden for butterflies such as the Brimstone, Comma, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and Orange tip. We want your records, and to know when you saw them on the wing. If you live in certain areas, particularly in northern England and in Scotland, we're particularly interested in your observations as all of these butterflies are spreading northwards, colonising areas where they didn't occur previously. The Comma, for example, has spread hundreds of miles northwards since the 1970's. Just this week we received a sighting from a garden in Fife which was the first Comma that the volunteer had seen there in 60 years. Monitoring the changing distributions of butterflies is important to understanding the effects of climate change on our environment. We know that for some species climate change has helped to boost numbers, while for others it has had an adverse effect, but there's still so much to learn. You never know what you might see. There has even been a scattering of Painted Lady butterfly sightings across the country in the last week. This species is a migrant from warmer parts of Europe, which normally arrives at the end of May or early June. We can't gather data in our usual ways this spring, so we need the help of everyone who is at home, with a garden or outdoor space, during the lockdown period. Each recording is important for our work to conserve UK butterflies and we would love the public to get behind us."

To submit a recording, simply go to:- Butterfly-Conservation.Org/MySightings.

RSPCA and fire service called to rescue cat stuck on a house roof for 3 days

THE RSPCA and fire service were called to rescue a cat which was stuck on top of a house roof in Liverpool. The pet, called Kitty, had been missing from his home, in Addingham Road, Mossley Hill, Liverpool, for 3 days when her owner then realised she was stuck on the roof of their property. The frightened feline was too nervous to make her own way down so he called the RSPCA, on Thursday, 9 April 2020 for help.

Animal Welfare Officer (AWO) Matt Brown was sent to the scene and realised for health and safety reasons he would need the assistance of Merseyside Fire Service. A fire crew attended the scene and used high ladders to try to reach Kitty, which had escaped through a skylight window, but they were unable to lure her to them. Matt used another ladder to get onto a nearby flat roof and when 1 of the firefighters tried to reach out to Kitty she fled towards Matt and he was able to safely place her in a cage. She was then carried down to her relieved owner. Matt said:- "It was so tricky getting the cat down as she just wouldn't come near us and it took 2 hours of coaxing to finally get her to safety. We often call the fire service for assistance in situations like this and we are always grateful for their help. It was great to see Kitty reunited with her owner who believes she made her way onto the roof from a skylight window. We would always advise people to be careful when opening windows; particularly on higher floors; if they have cats to avoid such incidents or any accidents"


Days earlier in nearby Wirral the RSPCA were called to rescue a cat called Nova who had got stuck up a tree. Inspector John Littlewood was sent to the address in Gainsborough Road, Upton, on 24 March 2020 and realised the tree was too high and there were too many large branches for him to safely reach the cat so called for a local tree surgeon to help. The tree surgeon, Paul Burgess of Arrowe Farm Tree Care, was able to safely climb up and reach the cat which he placed in a basket before abseiling to the ground and returning the pet to the grateful owner. John said:- "This is the 2nd time I have been called to this cat stuck up the same tree so it doesn't seem to learn. I am just grateful to the tree surgeon who lives nearby for assisting us in the rescue and it was nice to see the pet safely back with its owner."

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