9:52am Wednesday 30th January 2013
ONE of the UK’s most under-threat insect species has been given a survival boost by a team of North Yorkshire conservationists and volunteers.
The rare Tansy beetle – known locally as the Jewel of York – is only found along a 45km stretch of the River Ouse near York, where the Tansy plant it eats are found, and is classified as an endangered species at its other habitats around the world.
Helped by a grant from the SITA Trust, North Yorkshire County Council’s countryside service has developed a four-year conservation programme designed to protect the remaining Tansy beetle population and create the right conditions for its survival.
The work has been supported by organisations including City of York Council, the University of York and the Environment Agency.
Through the project, Himalayan balsam and coppiced willow has been cleared from 11 sites along the Ouse, new tansy has been planted and protection has been provided to prevent cattle eating it, leaving it available for the beetles.
Since the project began in 2009, 260 volunteer days have been devoted to it, and Coun Chris Metcalfe, the county council’s executive member for countryside services, said the scheme was “remarkable” and would be of “significant importance”.
Dr Geoff Oxford from the University of York said: “The SITA funding has allowed a coordinated approach to practical aspects of the beetle’s conservation, and future monitoring will show which interventions have worked and which have not.”
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