UK rail infrastructure manager Network Rail (NR) has announced that a team of its orange army has created a new habitat for the rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly.
Around 24 volunteers from the East West Rail (EWR) Alliance joined the Upper Thames Branch of wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation (BC) to create the new habitat for the colony on a patch of land adjacent to the London to Birmingham line.
It is reported that the colony, one of just three found in the county, currently sits on private land near Princes Risborough, just north of High Wycombe, but the site has recently gone up for sale.
The charity hopes that creating new habitat nearby will encourage the butterflies to expand their range.
Network Rail environment manager Lucie Anderton said: "It’s great to help support Butterfly Conservation. The habitat site is by the railway line, which we will be upgrading as part of East West Rail and confirms our commitment to engage with local conservation groups to help preserve and protect the environment."
According to a recent report released by BC and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), the Duke of Burgundy has recovered from significant declines over the last decade.
Upper Thames Branch chairman Nick Bowles said: "The status of this butterfly has been improving in other parts of the UK, but it has been completely lost from Oxfordshire and is in danger of disappearing from Buckinghamshire too.
"This is all part of our efforts to strengthen the Duke’s population and increase the number of colonies in Buckinghamshire."
According to BC, the current project will help the Duke to recover in Buckinghamshire.
Image: The rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly. Photo: courtesy of Network Rail.