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Media Release
Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Dr David Kemp

27 February 2003

Action Plan for Australian Butterflies


An Action Plan for Australian Butterflies, aimed at conserving threatened butterfly species and boosting their numbers, was today launched by the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, at Melbourne Zoo's Butterfly House.

"Backed with $82,000 in Federal Natural Heritage Trust funding, the Butterfly Action Plan provides critical information on how to conserve Australia's large range of wonderful butterfly species many of which are under threat. This may include the listing of threatened butterfly species under the Environment Protection and Conservation Act (EPBC)," Dr Kemp said.

"Butterflies are an important indicator to the overall health of ecosystems. One of the main threats to butterflies is from habitat loss where food and suitable sites for egg-laying are scarce.

"The Action Plan reviewed 220 of Australia's 650 butterflies species and recommends 26 species to be considered for possible listing as being threatened under the EPBC (see Attachment A). At present, only one species - the Bathurst Copper Butterfly - is listed under the EPBC.

"It also recommends recovery actions involving the community to help boost population numbers. This may involve landholders establishing bush corridors on their properties or schools and community groups planting food plants, both of which will create an ideal habitat and help butterflies survive.

"One species the action plan targets is the Richmond Birdwing, one of Australia's most beautiful butterflies found in south-eastern Queensland and northern NSW. The female is one of Australia's largest butterflies with a wing span of up to 15 centimetres. The male is famous for its striking yellow, vibrant green, red and black colours.

"The Richmond Birdwing depends on a particular rainforest vine for its survival. Tragically the loss of this vine, through land clearing, has caused their numbers to decline. Over $1 million from the Natural Heritage Trust has been provided to protect this species and its habitat, which includes the acquisition of properties as exclusive habitats for the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly."

Dr Kemp said the action plan was written by eminent entomologists and insect conservationists, including CSIRO's Dr Don Sands and Dr Tim New from Melbourne's LaTrobe University. The Threatened Species Scientific Committee - comprised of independent scientists - will consider the action plan's recommendations.

"Amateur butterfly enthusiasts also made a significant contribution to the report's findings and recommendations. Many of these people have dedicated years of their leisure time to collecting, studying and documenting Australian butterflies," Dr Kemp said.

"This has also helped build fundamental and lasting links between the Government, Australian scientists and the community, all of which share the common goal of conserving our precious butterflies.

"This level of cooperation, together with careful management strategies recommended in the action plan, is the key to making sure our butterfly populations are conserved for future generations."

The Howard Government has already contributed $1.6 million in Natural Heritage Trust funding towards the conservation of Australia's butterflies through several projects already in place (see Attachment B).

The Butterfly Action Plan is available on CD-ROM and hard copy and can also be found on the Environment Australia website at: www.ea.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/action/butterfly.

Media Contact:
Catherine Job 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400


Attachment A

Recommendations for listing under the Butterfly Action Plan

Please note - these are recommendations for possible listings and the national recommendations have not yet been assessed for listing under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The role of the Threatened Species Scientific Committee is to assess species and ecological communities for national listing on the Commonwealth's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act list of threatened species. The Committee is aware of the Butterfly Action Plan and will review the recommendations in the Plan.

SPECIES COMMON NAME
Acrodipsas brisbanensis cyrilus Bronze Ant-blue, Large Ant-blue
Anisynta cynone cynone Brown Cynone Skipper, Cynone Skipper, Mottled Grass-skipper
Candalides heathi ssp Rayed Blue/Wyn Wyn Blue
Herimosa albovenata albovenata White-veined Sand-skipper, White Veined Skipper
Hesperilla flavescens flavia Altona Skipper, Flavescens Skipper, Yellow Donnysa Skipper, Yellow Sedge Skipper, Yellowish Skipper
Heteronympha cordace wilsoni Bright Eyed Brown
Hypochrysops piceatus Bulloak-jewel
Jalmenus aridus Inland Hairstreak
Ocybadistes knightorum Black Grass-dart, Knight's Dart
Ogyris idmo halmaturia Large Brown Azure
Ogyris subterrestris petrina Arid Bronze Azure
Ogyris subterrestris subterrestris Arid Brown Azure, Mallee Brown Azure, Mildura Ogyris
Oreixenica ptunarra roonina Ptunarra Brown, Ptunarra Xenica
Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida Dull Copper, Eltham Copper, Fiery Copper
Pseudalmenus chlorinda myrsilus Australian Hairstreak, Orange Tit, Silky Hairstreak, Tasmanian Hairstreak
Acrodipsas myrmecophila Small Ant-blue
Argyreus hyperbius inconstans Australia Fritillary, Laced Fritillary
Hesperilla flavescens flavescens Altona Skipper, Flavescens Skipper, Yellow Sedge Skipper, Yellowish Skipper
Hesperilla idothea clara Flame Sedge Skipper, Flame Skipper
Jalmenus evagoras eubulus Imperial Blue, Pale Imperial Blue
Jalmenus lithochroa Lithocroa blue, Waterhouse’s hairstreak
Ogyris otanes Brown Azure, Western Dark Azure, Small Brown Azure
Oreixenica kershawi kanunda Kershaw’s Brown, Kershaw’s Xenica, Striped Xenica
Telicota eurychlora Dingy Darter, Sedge Data, Southern Sedge Data
Tisiphone abeone morrisi Large Wood Brown, Sword Grass Brown, Varied Sword Grass Brown
Trapezites phigalia phigalia Heath Ochre, Phigalia Skipper


Attachment B

Natural Heritage Trust projects protecting butterfly habitat


Organisation Name
State
Funding Year
Funding Amt
Description
Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland - Caloundra QLD 1997/1998 $11,255 To revegetate a park to form habitat for the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly by planting the butterfly's host vine, Aristolochia praevenosa.
Kalimna Park Preservation Committee Inc. VIC 1998/1999 $2,000 To rehabilitate 3 blocks of land which provides habitat for the silky azure butterfly.
Wanilla Landcare Group SA 1999/2000 $18,500 To enhance habitat for the Australian Skipper butterfly and other species by protecting 300ha of remnant vegetation against degradation by goats.
Natural Resources Conservation League VIC 1997/1998 $1,400 To help protect the saline marsh areas around Cherry Lake and increase habitat for local birdlife and the Altona Skipper Butterfly.
National Parks and Wildlife Service NSW 1997/1998 $12,000 Preparation of a recovery plan for the Bathurst Copper Butterfly.
Environmental Protection Agency QLD 1997/1998 $8,500 Preparation of a recovery plan for the Bulloak Jewel Butterfly.
CSIRO NAT 1997/1998 $82,000 Prepare an Action Plan for Australian Butterflies
Environmental Protection Agency QLD 1998/1999 $10,095 Undertake surveys to determine the distribution and status of the Bulloak Jewel Butterfly.
NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service NSW 1999/2000 $37,000 To involve the community in site management, monitoring and research actions included in the draft recovery plan for the Bathurst Copper Butterfly (Paralucia spinifera).
NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service NSW 2000/2001 $40,000 To involve the community in site management, monitoring and research actions included in the draft recovery plan for the Bathurst Copper Butterfly (Paralucia spinifera).
NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service NSW 2001/2002 $40,000 To involve the community in site management, monitoring and research actions included in the draft recovery plan for the Bathurst Copper Butterfly (Paralucia spinifera).
Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council TAS 2001/2002 $73,500 Manage a property with significant environmental and cultural features, including listing on the register of the National Estate as part of the range of the rare Tasmanian Skipper Butterfly.
Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council TAS 2000/2001 $70,000 Manage Preminghana, a property with significant environmental and cultural features, including listing on the register of the National Estate as part of the range of the rare Tasmanian Skipper Butterfly.
Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council TAS 1999/2000 $70,000 Manage a property with significant environmental and cultural features, including listing on the register of the National Estate as part of the range of the rare Tasmanian Skipper Butterfly.
Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council TAS 1997/1998 $40,960 Manage a property with significant environmental and cultural features, including listing on the register of the National Estate as part of the range of the rare Tasmanian Skipper Butterfly.
Caloundra City Council QLD 2001/2002 $335,000 To protect the upper catchment of Bellbird Creek which will in turn:- - protect Richmond Birdwing Butterfly habitat and also protect a diverse range of forest communities and species.
Caloundra City Council QLD 2002/2003 $684,600 Protection through acquisition of elevated rainforest on escarpments and tall open forest on the Blackall Range. The protection of this area will protect the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, among many other species of flora and fauna.
Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment TAS 1999/2000 $49,500 Protection of Eucalyptus ovata (Black Gum) and E. viminalis (White Gum) forests. The area includes habitat of the vulnerable Oreixenica ptunarra (Ptunarra Brown Butterfly).
Eprapah Creek Catchment Landcare Association Inc QLD 1999/2000 $18,500 In conjunction with local government and collaborators, survey known mangrove habitat areas for the endangered Illidge's ant-blue mangrove butterfly, among other water-quality survey activities.
Eprapah Creek Catchment Landcare Association Inc QLD 2000/2001 $18,500 In conjunction with local government and collaborators, survey known mangrove habitat areas for the endangered Illidge's ant-blue mangrove butterfly, among other water-quality survey activities.
Eprapah Creek Catchment Landcare Association Inc QLD 2001/2002 $18,500 In conjunction with local government and collaborators, survey known mangrove habitat areas for the endangered Illidge's ant-blue mangrove butterfly, among other water-quality survey activities.
Eprapah Creek Catchment Landcare Association Inc QLD 2002/2003 $13,875 In conjunction with local government and collaborators, survey known mangrove habitat areas for the endangered Illidge's ant-blue mangrove butterfly, among other water-quality survey activities.


Some of the butterflies recommended for listing under the Butterfly Action Plan

High resolution versions of these images suitable for print purposes are available by contacting Environment Australia.

Female bulloak jewel butterfly

Female bulloak jewel butterfly on its food plant, Allocasuarine leulmanni Copyright Don Sands

Female bulloak jewel butterfly

Female bulloak jewel butterfly on its food plant, Allocasuarine leulmanni Copyright Don Sands

Female Richmond Birdwing

Female Richmond Birdwing on its food plant, a lowland rainforest vine Copyright Don Sands

Male Richmond Birdwing

Male Richmond Birdwing on its food plant, a lowland rainforest vine Copyright Don Sands

Pupa of Richmond Birdwing

Pupa of Richmond Birdwing on its food plant, a lowland rainforest vine Copyright Don Sands

Commonwealth of Australia