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article imageU.K.'s Butterfly World to close (update)

By Tim Sandle     Dec 14, 2015 in Environment
Saint Albans - Butterfly World, the U.K.'s foremost breeding ground and study area for typical and rare butterflies is set to close due to a lack of funding.
Butterfly World is located in St. Albans in Hertfordshire, U.K. The center collects and breeds butterflies from the tropics and from the UK. The aim, especially with the U.K. species, was conservation. Of the 54 resident butterfly species in the UK, (there are four regular migrant species also), seven out of ten are in decline. Butterfly World was profiled on Digital Journal back in 2012; at this time hopes were high for an expansion of the park.
A colorful butterfly
A colorful butterfly
The project opened in 2009. It was founded by lepidopterist Clive Farrell and to the tune of £27 million. The opening ceremony was conducted by renowned biologist Sir David Attenborough. Some 600 species, typically, were on display each summer. As recently as two months ago the project reorted about an incredibly rare half male, half female gynandromorph.
Given the importance of butterflies in terms of pollination, as well as the importance of protecting disappearing species. it is with sad news that Butterfly World is set to close. Although the attraction, which includes an insect house and a large butterfly area, is popular it is reliant upon funding to keep it going. An attempt to secure a donation to build a large biome and visitor attraction, to hold 10,000 butterflies, from the National Lottery has fallen on deaf ears. Unable to sustain the costs, the owners have decided to close down the facility.
It was good to be able to get so close to these amazing creatures
It was good to be able to get so close to these amazing creatures
A statement on the project's Facebook page reads:
With great sadness we are letting you know that Butterfly World will not reopen in Spring 2016. This decision was made by Butterfly World owners, Ipswich-based civil engineering firm J Breheny Contractors. The long term vision was originally to build a 100m biome to house the world’s largest walk through butterfly exhibit. After having tried for four years to secure funding for this development, the company reluctantly believes it is longer realistic to achieve this.
Five Star Swing in action at Butterfly World  August 2015.
Five Star Swing in action at Butterfly World, August 2015.
To say our final farewell, we wanted to share with you some of the successes we are most proud of from the past five years. Thank you so much for all your support, we hope that you enjoyed being at Butterfly World as much as we did.
The video below shows some of the recent work carried out by the project over the past few years:
Many of staff, however, think the project could have dealt with its financial issues and become profitable. Speaking with the BBC, Marketing and administration manager, Sally Cornish, said: "Having reviewed the trading figures, the team are confident we could break even given the opportunity." She added: "We are all absolutely devastated."
Not only did Butterfly World run educational events and prove to be a popular visitor attraction, it kept varied and interesting gardens, and hosted a number of special events like an annual jazz evening (reviewed by Digital Journal in August 2015.)
As an update to this article, a petition has been launched to save Butterfly World from closure. The petition has attracted over 1,000 signatures within its first day. This follows an open letter from staff, urging the owners to reconsider their actions. The letter, reported on by the BBC, states there has been "overwhelming support from the public" who had expressed "dismay, sadness and a determination" to try to keep the center open.
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