To all friends and neighbours of the Brenton Blue butterfly – welcome to your latest newsletter! Your management committee (MC) includes representatives from CapeNature, WESSA, EWT, LepSoc, the Knysna Municipality (KM) and the local residents. You can obtain more detailed information about the Brenton Blue on our websites:
www.brentonbluetrust.co.za and www.brentonblue.org.za.
Guided tours of reserve
The public is only allowed into the reserve with permission from the reserve manager Dr Dave Edge, contactable on 044 3810014 or 074 5807288. The adult butterflies only fly in November and February/ March. A charge of R200 per person is charged for a guided tour, and groups are limited to four maximum.
South African Red Data Book: Butterflies
In this book, published in 2013, the Brenton Blue was listed as “Critically Endangered”. Three other butterflies from the Knysna area are also listed (Thestor brachycerus found at Pezula; and Chrysoritis thysbe mithras and Aloeides thyra orientis found at Brenton-on-Sea). Knysna has therefore been identified by the authors as a butterfly biodiversity hotspot.
Control of alien vegetation
Although the MC continues to actively control alien vegetation in the reserve, Kikuyu grass from neighbouring gardens is an ever present threat, and if you are one of our neighbours, we ask you to be vigilant and prevent this grass from escaping across your property boundary into the reserve.
The adult butterfly population at the reserve is currently on a declining trend, having reduced from 150 in November 2008 to less than 50 in November 2016 and February 2017. The major reason for this decrease is undoubtedly the terrible drought over the last couple of years, and despite our best efforts populations of the butterfly caterpillars’ food plant Indigofera erecta have dwindled.
Expansion of the Butterfly Reserve
The MC has had a contract to manage Uitzicht 216/81 (a 10ha public open space north of the reserve across W K Grobler road) for over ten years. The habitat modifications we have made (opening up paths to let in more light and control the bracken fern) have eventually resulted in a good healthy population of Indigofera erecta and Uitzicht 216/81 is now almost ready to support a population of Brenton Blues. The only resource still required is sufficient nectar plants, and this is currently being addressed. The Knysna Municipality has agreed in principle to declare this piece of land, plus some other public open space to the west of the reserve, as a contract nature reserve, to be managed by Cape Nature and the Brenton Blue Trust.
How you can help
Donations can be made to the Brenton Blue Trust through our website www.brentonbluetrust.co.za. Neighbours can volunteer to assist in the management of the reserve.