Butterflies: A very British Obsession ?

Neil Jones neil at nwjones.demon.co.uk
Fri Dec 17 12:08:43 EST 2010

On 16/12/2010 21:41, David James wrote:
> The BBC in its Natural World series presents  'Butterflies: A very 
> British Obsession' on BBC 2 tomorrow night.
> Its terrific that butterflies get their own prime time major network 
> show..but unfortunate that we US residents wont be able to watch it...
> However , if you go the show's website 
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wwbm4 you can view 11 short clips 
> from the show.
> There's some great footage including frogs preying on painted ladies, 
> an orange tip eclosing and a Brimstone caterpillar pupating.
> I'm not so sure that butterflies are a 'very British obsession'... I 
> think they are a humankind obsession that hopefully is growing 
> throughout the world.
> We in the US are just a little way behind the UK particularly in the 
> public obsession part, but I think we are catching up. We need to.
> The more awareness the media can instill into the public about 
> butterflies and moths, the better we will be for making sure we 
> protect and conserve the fauna we have.
> Browse the formidable 'Butterfly Conservation' website 
> http://www.butterfly-conservation.org  and you begin to understand 
> just how advanced the understanding of British butterflies and their 
> conservation is. More importantly, you sense a passion for butterflies 
> and moths within the British public that is sadly lacking in the US.
> When ABC, CBS or NBC show a prime time documentary on American 
> butterflies, we will know we are  catching up........

We British have historically been very interested in butterflies but 
Butterfly Conservation has been a very successful organisation. it has 
more then 15,000 members which If I have done my sums correctly would 
proportionally translate to more than 50,000 if it were in the USA.
We are keen on nature over here. The Royal Society for the Protection of 
Birds has over a million members!

I am looking forward to watching tonight. The BBC does, as I am sure you 
all know, some superb natural history stuff.

You will all be aware of the material , separate from tonight's 
broadcast, which Sir David Attenborough does. Perhaps people are unaware 
though that he is a keen supporter of the cause of butterflies. He is 
Butterfly Conservation's  honorary figurehead President.

As a little treat for those who have not seen it I recommend the 
wonderful piece he did on the life cycle and parasites of one of the 
blues . The larva is a brood parasite, a cuckoo-like species that lives 
in ants nests. This is really marvellous I actually know how rare these 
creatures are. It is mind blowing to see that they actually got the 
cameras into the ants' nests and they also filmed the parasite in  there 


Neil Jones
neil at nwjones.demon.co.uk

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