|Bring Back the Birdwing Butterfly
|a) Planting food plants to re-establish corridors
||By working with Community members and Catchment Groups, food plants
for the caterpillars are being planted along watercourses, in gardens
and on state lands to provide breeding sites and encourage the Richmond
Birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) to return to
its former range in SE Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
|b) Strengthening and extending fragmented
populations by planting Richmond birdwing vines -
is underway from the D'Aguilar Ranges to
the Brisbane River and beyond. The aim is to plant vines continuously
along the northern, southern and western parts of the birdwing's range:
from Maryborough Qld to Grafton NSW, and west to Toowoomba.
|c) Protecting, propagating, planting
and caring for the Richmond Birdwing Vines -
| ||has started on public and private land to
protect the remaining natural Richmond Birdwing habitats. At suitable
locations the planted coastal vine (Pararistolochia praevenosa)
and the montane vine (Pararistolochia laheyana) will provide
sufficient food plants for caterpillars of the butterfly to breed.
|d) Information sessions and newsletters
| ||By hosting talks and community workshops,
the Network is providing informaiton and raising public awareness
about problems that the Richmond birdwing butterfly and other sub-tropical
flora and fauna are facing.
|Butterflies are valuable indicators for
health and plant biodiversity in local bushland as many depend on
one or very few native plant species as food for their caterpillars.
The Richmond Birdwing butterfly is no exception with only two natural
food plants, one of which is threatened in Queensland.
Habitat destruction and disturbance, loss of corridors and larval
food plants, the displacement of native vegetation by weed invasions,
un-natural fire regimes, drought effects and climate change
are the major threats resulting in decline or disappearance of our
butterflies. Since the 1980's the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly has
been a flagship species for raising public awareness of the loss and
fragmentation of habitats in coastal sub-tropical rainforest and for
environmental education. The Richmond Birdwing has become extinct
from two-thirds of its original range and continues to contract. Coordinated
protection of habitats, planting of vines in corridors and re-establishment
of the birdwing are essential to halt a further decline in the distribution
of the butterfly and local extinctions.
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