The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon, is best known for its long-eared, four-legged residents, but the recent discovery of Small Eggar larvae has put the charity firmly on the rare moth map.
Small Eggar moths were once quite a common sight in hedgerows, but have become so scarce in recent years that there are now only a few scattered colonies across the UK. The decline has been noted locally as well, with only four recorded sightings submitted to the Devon Moth Group over the past three years.
James Chubb, The Donkey Sanctuary’s Activities and Events Manager, says:
“The discovery of these nationally scarce Small Eggar larvae is further proof of what wonderful biodiversity is here at The Donkey Sanctuary. The larval nest found on a tree on one of our walkways here at Sidmouth contains a number of brown caterpillars which will happily co-exist alongside our resident donkeys, visitors and neighbouring landowners.
“Their numbers have fallen drastically across the country due to the destruction of hedgerows, a valuable farmland feature we are working hard to protect and manage well for wildlife. Over the coming years we are going to explore further ways in which we can combine donkey welfare with improving and protecting habitats for wildlife. This fabulous rare insect, which we are fortunate to have here at The Donkey Sanctuary, is proof of the importance of this work.”
For more information about the work of The Donkey Sanctuary, including its wildlife projects and events, please visit www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk.
For an interview, further information or images, please contact The Donkey Sanctuary press office on 01395 573097/573014, mobile 07970 927778 or via email
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