Media Release. “A respected environmental activist who is based in Yzerfontein while he completes research for his PhD is believed to have discovered a hitherto unknown butterfly. Cape West Coast Conversancies and environmentalists are very excited by the recent discovery of the butterfly which has been tentatively named the West Coast Bronze butterfly (Poecilmitis petraea).
The West Coast Bronze is thought, by some, to be closely related to the Cape West Coast Copper (Poecilmitis lycegenes), which can be found in the coastal areas of the West Cape Floristic Region.
Approached for comment, international butterfly expert Mr. Georgiou Lepidopteris said, “I am delighted by this rare opportunity to determine if the butterfly is a unique species or is a cross between the West Coast Copper and the West Coast Tin (Poecilmitis cannus).”
It is understood that the West Coast Bronze larvae feeds exclusively on indigenous fynbos of the Cape Floristic Region which is dominated by the grassy fynbos of the coastal belt areas of the South West Coast Forelands. Areas where the sensitive microhabitats of the remaining Lowland fynbos and renosterveld are under threat of destruction by irresponsible developers.
It is thought that the Cape Floristic Region is experiencing one of the most rapid rates of extinction in the world due to undisciplined development projects leading to habitat loss and land degradation.
Local resident Pierre V. Estibulè comments “it is important that developers respect delicate natural habitats and that potentially destructive development is carefully monitored”.
Environmentalists and concerned residents have suggested that the coastal areas be declared as protected natural habitat. They propose that development projects be put on hold until the effects of the destruction of the butterfly’s breeding and feeding habitat and the effect on ecological corridors for the flight and migration of rare species can be properly scoped and debated.”
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