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"Planet Earth" Host Urges You To Count Butterflies To Improve Your Health, And Theirs Too

Commission for Environmental Cooperation / The Independent

I think it's common knowledge by now that bees, which are responsible for feeding 90% of the world's population, are rapidly declining in numbers.

These bugs are the culprit of a lot nasty bites, but we need them more than ever before.

Another species of pollinators that are at great risk is butterflies.

According to a 2017 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the monarch butterfly population has "sharply declined over the last two decades."

These pollinators are extremely vital to maintain the planet's ecosystems, and allow us to enjoy the foods we have on our tables today.

Sir David Attenborough, the English broadcaster and naturalist, is urging people to make a difference - and what he's asking is going to benefit both you and local butterflies.

The Big Butterfly Count

This heat wave has brought record-breaking high temperatures around the world, which means we're not the only ones being affected by the heat.

If the hot weather continues, our local communities could be at risk of having damaged crops due to the lack of rainwater.

This will ultimately disrupt the food chain, affecting other plants and insects.  

“A cause for great concern over recent years is that many of our once common and widespread species like the large white, small copper and gatekeeper have started to struggle, mirroring the declines of rarer species," Attenborough said.

“Butterfly Conservation has also revealed that butterflies are declining faster in our towns and cities than in the countryside."

Now the award-winning host of Planet Earth is urging people to participate in the world biggest butterfly count over the next three weeks to help experts understand how the butterfly population is faring.

He also advocates for the mental health benefits of watching wildlife:

“I have been privileged to have witnessed some truly breath-taking wildlife spectacles in far-flung locations but some of my most memorable experiences have happened when I’ve been simply sitting and watching the wildlife that lives where I do,” he said.

Some experts believe that spending time in nature will help alleviate depression and anxiety.

Spending time with nature offers us all precious breathing space away from the stresses and strains of modern life, it enables us to experience joy and wonder, to slow down and to appreciate the wildlife that lives side by side with us," the 92-year-old host added.

4 Ways To Attract Butterflies To Your Garden

There are many things you can do to make your garden more inviting for butterflies.

The more you help them out, the more they help you out! Here are a few ways you can achieve this win-win.

1. Create small puddles

In this hot weather, butterflies need a place to cool off, while still basking in the sun and soaking up energy.

Fill a shallow dish with sand or flat stones and then add water. Here they can relax, without having to worry about drowning.

2. Grow bright, pesticide-free plants

Butterflies love flowers that give off a sweet fragrance, which are usually colorful plants.

Also, make sure the plants you grow are pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide free.

These chemicals will only contribute to their declining populations.

3. Grow native plants

The local fauna and flora have a way of communicating with each other that foreign plants simply cannot mimic.

When plants are thriving, your local wildlife is thriving too.

4. Choose the right milkweed

Monarch larvae love a good milkweed.

If you don't have any in your garden, get quality milkweed seeds from Live Monarch for free.

Share this article to spread awareness about the benefits of saving the butterflies! Will you be participating in the Big Butterfly Count?

[H/T: The Guardian]

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.