According to this article 37% of native butterfly species are under threat of extinction or have already dies out. It is feared that many species could vanish within years due to the rise of intensive farming and the loss of habitats. According to conservationist butterflies determine the health of the environment so the decline not only affects other wildlife but also paints a bleak picture for other species.
The Butterfly Conservation charity has published a list of 23 butterfly species that are endangered of already extinct. A further 11 of our 72 species of native butterflies are also rated as near threatened with only half of species being considered safe. The extinct species include the black veined white, large copper, mazarine blue and large tortoiseshell. The large blue and high brown fritillary are listed as critically endangered. Species listed as endangered include the chequered skipper, wood white, white letter hairstreak, black hairstreak, duke of burgundy, pearl border fritillary, glanville fritillary and heath fritillary. Those listed as vulnerable include the dingy skipper, grizzled skipper, brown hairstreak, silver studded blue, northern brown argus, white admiral, marsh fritillary, grayling and large heath.
Whilst there have been some success stories with the large blue being drought back from the brink of extinction it appears there is still much to do. Butterflies are particularly vulnerable to the loss of grasslands which are rich in wildflowers and the poorer quality of woodlands. Pesticides and intensive farming are also largely to blame for their decline. Personally I leave wild areas of the garden where I encourage the wild flowers and the insects they bring with them. It might not be much but I tend to have all sorts of butterflies visiting in the summer.