Butterflies of the Red List

While most of my photography takes place far away from my home country the Netherlands, I’m also working on a project a lot closer to home. I want to portrait all butterflies on the Dutch Red List, starting with all the endangered ones. The Heath Fritillary was the first, now I finished with the second part: the Tree Grayling (the movie is in Dutch only).

The Tree Grayling is critically endangered and only occurs in a small area in the Netherlands. Its main threats are habitat loss due to overgrowing of the sandy areas within heathlands. In the summer of 2018, a different problem arose. This summer was extremely hot and dry in the Netherlands, causing the heath plants not to flower. As this is the main food source for the butterflies, many of them starved. Conservation agencies tried to help the species by instating so-called ‘Nectarpubs’, small gardens with plants which produce a lot of nectar. They hoped the butterflies would go and feed here, which would mean they could survive this summer. I guess next year we’ll see the effect of this measure. If they survive, however, many more measures need to be taken to save this species for the Netherlands. with only a few tens left, the population is far too small for a good future…

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