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Gardeners boost monarch butterfly numbers

Last updated 11:05 27/02/2013
Monarch butterfly
BARRY HARCOURT/Fairfax NZ

A Monarch butterfly provides a colourful touch to a Te Anau garden.

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Monarch butterflies have been seen in increasing regularity in Te Anau thanks in part to the efforts of some keen gardeners.

The butterflies have previously been a rare sight on the edge of Fiordland but this summer they have been made a colourful appearance in Te Anau gardens after swan plants, along with eggs and caterpillars, were sold at the town's Mitre 10.

Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust secretary Jacqui Knight said it was not known why sightings had become so rare but it could be related to climate change or a lack of host plants.

It would be a hot topic discussed by key speakers at the trust's conference in Auckland next month, Ms Knight said.

''Butterfly and moth caterpillars make great food for birds and other wildlife so they should be an important part of any habitat restoration.''

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- The Southland Times

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