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Rare European Butterfly discovered in West Offaly Bog

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One of the rarest butterflies in Europe has returned to the bogs of west Offaly after an absence of over twenty years.

The Marsh Fritillary Butterfly was last seen on Turraun Bog in 1995 but has been recorded back on the bog within the past week. Bord na Móna ecologists confirm the butterfly has returned to the area.

The Head of Bord na Móna’s Ecology Department, Joe Lane, said “This is a discovery of big European significance, the Marsh Fritillary Butterfly is a rare and beautiful creature that we thought had disappeared but now we now know to have returned.

We believe it has returned because of the extensive bog rehabilitation work that has taken place in Turraun and at the nearby Lough Boora Discovery Park but we need way more data on this project. That is why we are making a big appeal to people to go out there and find more examples of this and other butterflies. We are asking people to photograph butterflies if they can and send the picture and details regarding the location to us at ecology@bnm.ie. We know they are out there, so we are asking people to take their children, family, friends, grannies, whoever they can get to come to Lough Boora Discovery Park or go out to bogs and wetlands and help us find them. Above all when you do go out looking for the Marsh Fritillary remember to have fun and stay safe”

The Marsh Fritillary is the only Irish butterfly that is protected at a European level.  It is a species that will live in wetlands and bog margins.