HRH The Prince of Wales has already taken part in this year's Big Butterfly Count – recording a number of species from his private gardens at Highgrove.

The count, organised by Lulworth-based wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation, has broken its record for participants in the first five days, with 9,132 counts submitted.

This represents more than double that of 2019.

It works by asking members of the public, from any walk of life, to spend 15 minutes in any outdoor space recording the butterflies they can see.

Prince Charles, who posted support for the count online, recorded sightings of Peacock, Holly Blue and Comma butterflies among others from his gardens.

Butterfly Conservation senior surveys officer Dr Zoe Randle said: "The Big Butterfly Count has fallen at a time this year when so many of us have spent more time living and working in our homes and exercising in our local areas than ever before.

"We’re taking note for the first time, of just how abundant the nature is around us and how important it is to our wellbeing.

"We’d love this new wave of nature-conscious people to continue to give a little something back to our environment which has been a comfort to us all through the last few months.”

Experts say butterflies can be key indicators of the health of the environment, helping scientists better understand the effect of weather patterns and human activity on local habitats and ecosystems.

Dr Randle said: "By understanding our butterfly populations, we are taking the pulse of nature."

This years count, which runs until Sunday (August 9), was launched by Butterfly Conservation vice president Chris Packham.

He said: "It is really encouraging to see so many people recognising the importance of looking out for butterflies and our wider environment, but we need more counts so please do take part.

"The butterfly counts you make will truly contribute to science and help us understand how to conserve and protect our fantastic wildlife.

"My garden is brimming with butterflies this year, and once you’ve done one count, it’s hard to stop."

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