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Winnie the Pooh joins Big Butterfly Count

Animation shows the famous teddy bear counting painted lady butterflies, which are being seen in large numbers this year.

Pooh has been pictured counting painted lady butterflies outside his house in Hundred Acre Wood (Disney/PA)
Pooh has been pictured counting painted lady butterflies outside his house in Hundred Acre Wood (Disney/PA)

By Emily Beament, PA Environment Correspondent

Winnie the Pooh is encouraging families to get into the outdoors by joining the world’s largest annual butterfly survey, Disney has said.

The famous teddy bear is taking part in wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count, in which members of the public submit their sightings of common butterflies to help track the fortunes of the insects.

Disney has created a short animation in watercolour, hand-drawn by senior principal artist Kim Raymond, depicting Pooh counting painted lady butterflies while sitting outside his house in Hundred Acre Wood.

Experts at Butterfly Conservation have urged people to take part in the count to see if the UK is experiencing a once-in-a-decade wildlife phenomenon this year with a mass influx of painted lady butterflies.

The butterfly is a common immigrant from the continent each summer where its caterpillars feed on thistles, but around once every 10 years there is a painted lady “summer” when millions arrive en masse, and high numbers have already been seen this year.

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Winnie the Pooh has joined the Big Butterfly Count (Disney/PA)

Butterfly Conservation has created some tips to help families enjoy being in the outdoors and taking part in the count.

They are:

– Get children to make a list of all the places they think could be good for butterflies – the garden, local park, woodland or any other green-space – and pick a new place to visit each day before the Big Butterfly Count ends on August 11;

– Invite friends and neighbours to join in and organise a group Big Butterfly Count while enjoying a picnic or BBQ out in nature;

– Set an alarm for 15 minutes on a phone or watch and see which member of the family can find the most butterflies in that time;

– Families with gardens can do their bit to help pollinators all year round by planting nectar plants for butterflies and food plants for their caterpillars. Without a garden, children can still help plant up pots, create a window box or grow plants up a fence or wall.

– Parents can get the children outside searching for caterpillars and help them rear their own caterpillars.

To take part in the count, which runs until August 11, people just need to find a sunny spot anywhere in the UK and spend 15 minutes counting the butterflies they see, and then submit sightings online at www.bigbutterflycount.org or via the free Big Butterfly Count app.

PA

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