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Rare butterflies in Dartmoor National Park benefit from £50,000 nature campaign

Rare butterflies in the Dartmoor National Park are set to benefit this month from a partnership between the UK’s National Parks and Forest Holidays.

Forest Holidays has today launched their 2019 Black Friday offer called ‘Give Nature a Break’ which will see a £20 donation from every sale made between today and December 3 support five species conservation projects in the National Parks.

Forest Holidays aims to donate in excess of £50,000 in total, of which the Dartmoor 2020 Butterflies project will receive a share. Customers will also receive up to 20 per cent off bookings during the same period.

Some of Britain’s rarest fritillary butterflies can still be found in Dartmoor National Park. Some of these species have been in rapid decline for many years, the Marsh Fritillary (pictured) has declined in abundance by 64% since 2005 and distribution by 79% since 1976, making Dartmoor one of the last strongholds for butterflies that were once a common sight in the UK.

The National Park has supported Butterfly Conservation and other partners with the successful All the Moor Butterflies project; working with landowners and volunteers to enhance and conserve the rare Rhos Pasture habitats that these butterflies thrive in; but there is still so much more to do. The Dartmoor 2020 Butterfly Project will enable this great work to continue.

Pamela Woods, Chair of Dartmoor National Park Authority said: “We are delighted that Forest Holidays have chosen the rare Marsh Fritillary as one of the beneficiaries of their ‘Give Nature a Break’ campaign. Every pound that is donated will be used to improve and restore their breeding habitats, in the hope that one day they will once again become a common sight on Dartmoor.”

Cat Hawkins, Chair of National Parks Partnerships said: “Forest Holidays’ support this November will make a huge difference to the National Parks’ bees, butterflies and red squirrels. The National Parks are vital places for wildlife but we need more funding to protect it.”

Bruce McKendrick, CEO of Forest Holidays said: “Every year Black Friday grabs our customers attention by offering them great holiday deals. We all know the benefits to physical and mental well-being that come from connecting people with nature, a connection which is intrinsic to quality of life. We believe it’s vital to ensure these natural environments thrive.

"The many distractions of everyday life mean it’s perhaps easy to take nature for granted but we know our guests care deeply about providing a better deal for nature. Each day of the year they experience the benefits of spending time together in a natural forest setting, rich in habitat and the wildlife this sustains. We are all enriched by nature, and now it’s time to give nature a break.”

Julia Bradbury co-founder of The Outdoor Guide said: “It's easy to take the wildlife we see in our beautiful National Parks for granted. But species that we might think of as commonplace, like bees, butterflies and red squirrels, are actually under threat. Forest Holidays and the UK National Parks #givenatureabreak campaign is a brilliant way to support some of the threatened species that make our National Parks so special.”

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