- Why have you set up a new charity for swallowtails and birdwings?
Back in 1985 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published a Red Data Book that reviewed the conservation status of all 573 species of the butterfly family Papilionidae. A number of high priorities were identified, and an action plan was published in 1991, but action on the ground has been limited. Swallowtails and birdwings are often iconic and can act as flagship species for broader conservation aims. We want to help get some projects going!
- In what ways do you help conservation?
We do four things: raise financial resources; convene networks and partnerships; catalyse action, and provide scientific and technical support.
- Do you have staff and offices?
No, we are a small charity run entirely by our Trustees, who are volunteers. We have an excellent group of Honorary Advisers, each with special expertise that they make available to us from time to time. Our registered address is c/o Hines Harvey Woods, Queens Head House, The Street, Acle, Norfolk NR13 3DY, UK. We collect mail from there.
- How do you choose what species to help conserve?
In 1991 the IUCN Lepidoptera Specialist Group, now the IUCN Butterfly Specialist Group, published an Action Plan outlining 34 priorities. Most of these are just as relevant today and we are using these to explore future possibilities. One of those projects was to conserve Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing in Papua New Guinea. A new book has brought the situation up-to-date (see Publications) and made it clear that this species must be our top priority. In addition to this global view, we aim to support swallowtail and birdwing projects at the local level, where a particular species, perhaps common at the global level, may have special local significance.
- Where in the world do you have projects?
Our first project is in Papua New Guinea, where we are working with partners on a three-year programme of captive breeding and release of Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing, the world’s largest butterfly. We have a pipeline of new projects and will update the website with information as they progress.
- Do you give grants for projects?
In general, we are not in a position to fund unsolicited projects. However, we may be able to help you raise resources, and from time to time we will make small start-up grants.
- What do you do in the UK?
The UK has a single subspecies, the British Swallowtail, confined to the Norfolk Broads. It depends on Milk Parsley, Peucedanum palustre, as its foodplant. Our interest is in introducing the subspecies to new wetland locations more secure from the effects of climate change, sea level rise and salinization.
- Do you have members?
No, we don’t have a membership as this would be beyond our capacity at present.
- Do you have a newsletter?
We will be providing regular updates for interested people who supply their email addresses to us.
- How may I help your cause?
We raise funds for projects and basic overheads. We also encourage enthusiasts and experts to help us as Honorary Advisors, and to step forward with project ideas. In due course, we are likely to need additional Trustees with particular skills such as communications, IT and finance.
- How may I get in touch?
Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to our registered address, Swallowtail and Birdwing Butterfly Trust, c/o Hines Harvey Woods, Queens Head House, The Street, Acle, Norfolk NR13 3DY, UK