My interest in moths and butterflies spans 60 years and I can identify most British butterflies. I have today identified a female large copper butterfly in the garden here in Tilford. I can not tell you how surprised I was. Does anyone know of any current reintroduction projects?
The Large Copper was first discovered from Dozen’s Bank near Spalding in Lincolnshire in 1749. It became extinct in the British Isles in 1851 and was last recorded at Bottisham in Cambridgeshire. There is no doubt that the demise of this most spectacular butterfly was the result of changing fenland management and, in particular, the draining of the fens. On the continent this species lives in discrete colonies ranging from a few dozen adults to many hundred.
There have been several introduction attempts, the first at Woodwalton Fen, in Huntingdonshire, in 1927. On several occasions, the population had to be subsequently re-introduced or supplemented from captive stock. The British subspecies, dispar, was endemic to the British Isles and reintroductions have tended to use stock from the Netherlands, which is of the rare subspecies batavus. Unfortunately, all reintroduction attempts have ultimately failed. A project is being undertaken at Keele University to determine the feasibility of a Large Copper re-establishment programme in the British Isles.
Has anyone knowledge of these being reintroduced to the uk.