Could there be tigers in your garden?

Garden Tiger Moth Survey
Garden Tiger Moth Survey

Butterfly Conservation Scotland is urging people to venture into their gardens after dark this Bank Holiday Weekend, to search for tigers.

The Garden Tiger moth is one of our most stunning insects with orange, black, brown and white wings, a furry orange and black body and white antennae.

But this large moth is in trouble with the species undergoing a decline in numbers.

By counting these moths as part of the garden tiger survey, the public can play a vitally important role in providing Butterfly Conservation scientists with data that could help safeguard these moths for the future.

The garden tiger flies at night and is readily attracted to outdoor lights.

Once a very common visitor to gardens throughout the UK, sightings of the Garden Tiger are now not often reported in the Central Belt, southern Scotland and most of England and Wales, although it’s still widespread over large parts of the Highlands.

Alex Hogg, Community Engagement Officer said: “The Garden Tiger is a magnificent beast, which was once a very common visitor to gardens throughout the UK.

“Sadly it seems that the loss of local wildlife habitats and perhaps changes in gardening practice means that it is now an uncommon sight in the Central Belt, southern Scotland and most of England and Wales.

Tom Prescott, Species Conservation Officer said: “Fortunately the Garden Tiger is still widespread over large parts of the Highlands.

“Perhaps it should be renamed the Highland Tiger?”

The Garden Tiger’s colours serve both as camouflage and as a warning to predators such as birds that it is poisonous – although it is perfectly safe to carefully pick up.

Those successful in their tiger safari can send us sightings via a ‘quick link’ at www.butterfly-conservation.org/scottishtigersurvey

The Bank Holiday weekend also provides a last chance to take part in Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count.

Butterflies are key indicators of the health of our environment and taking part in the Count, which is receiving the backing of Butterfly Conservation President Sir David Attenborough, will provide crucial information which could help secure the long-term future of these threatened insects. www.bigbutterflycount.org