Eltham Copper Butterfly gains more ground

Words by Nicole Drever - shire Environmental Works Officer

Eltham Copper Butterfly. Photo by Andrea Canzano.

Throughout October last year, intensive survey work to map and count Eltham Copper Butterfly caterpillars was conducted across 13 populations in the Eltham area. 

The work involved consulting company Wildlife Experiences, Nillumbik Shire Council, Friends of the Eltham Copper Butterfly and a large number of other volunteers.

Council engaged ecologist Karl Just for two tasks.  The first was to conduct adult surveys across the thirteen Eltham Copper Butterfly populations to better inform management about the distribution of the species. Surveys took place in December 2022 and January 2023. The second was to prepare individual management plans for each of the 13 Eltham Copper Butterfly populations, thereby providing direct guidance and recommendations for the priority conservation management actions to be implemented over the next five years.

Included is the implementation of extensive habitat management works involving ecological thinning, weed control and planting across the 13 project sites.

The complete management plan and report on the Eltham Copper Butterfly caterpillar surveys are due for completion at the end of March.

All work was funded by a grant from the federal government through the Environment Restoration Fund and administered by Nillumbik Shire Council.  

Council will endeavour to continue to collect annual survey data for adult Eltham Copper Butterflies across the Eltham populations. 

 Friends of the Eltham Copper Butterfly Convener, Wayne Kindrade added: “This group meets on the third Sunday of each month to undertake working bees in conjunction with the Shire of Nillumbik Environmental Works Team.  The next bee will be at the Yarra Valley Water reserve at 32-34 Diosma Rd, Eltham from 10am to noon, Sunday, 19 February. The group will undertake ecological thinning and weeding. 

To register interest in attending, please email Wayne at [email protected]. No prior experience is necessary.”

See our feature article: Eltham Copper Butterfly – “A Flagship Species”.