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Red Admiral In Retreat

Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust
C/- NZ Post, Russell, 0242


www.monarch.org.nz  trust@monarch.org.nz


PRESS RELEASE
for immediate release

Red Admiral In Retreat

Trustees of the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust are shocked to see a photograph of the 'wrong' Red Admiral butterfly featuring in the current issue of The Listener.

“This confirms what we have been saying for two years," said Jacqui Knight. “Years ago people were saying they were seeing less of our endemic butterflies - now they struggle to identify them.”

The Red Admiral (Bassaris gonerilla) is unique to NZ and even has a Maori name - Kahukura or 'red cape'.

Loss of habitat, climate change, and the effects of pesticide are major influencers overseas on the reduction of butterfly species.

"Butterflies play an important role as pollinators - as do many other insects," Jacqui said. "We are often unaware of the huge range of insect life - but butterflies we do notice. We notice them fly across our path - and we notice them when they're gone."

She cited the example of the Forest Ringlet (Dodonidia helmsii), which has now become extremely rare.

“It would be tragic if we were to lose butterflies only found in New Zealand.”

The Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust is helping to educate children and gardeners as to habitat and identification, and what can be done to protect our butterflies.

"The loss of insect life has a direct effect on the food chain – and our lives depend on that."

   ENDS

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