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04 26/04/2017

Planting barberry bushes across the UK

  • Wildlife Connections
  • UK Wildlife

Since January we’ve given away over 1000 barberry plants as part of our Wildlife Connections campaign to help reintroduce a rare native species of moth that was once widespread throughout the UK.

The barberry carpet moth is one of Britain’s most threatened moth species. And even though it’s a protected species, it needs all the help it can get. That’s why our horticulturists have been growing the barberry plant at the zoo since 2013 as part of a wider project to help the moth.

Once widespread across the UK, the moth can now only be found in small pockets after both the moth and its main source of food went into to decline. Its caterpillars only feed on barberry leaves, which is where it gets its name from, and as this plant is disappearing across the UK, so too is the moth!

Barberry moth

As part of the Wildlife Connections campaign over 1000 barberry plants have been given away to community groups, partners and zoo visitors to make new habitats for wildlife across the UK, and hopefully boost the barberry carpet moth population.

Barberry plants giveaway to Bromborough golf club


One hundred plants were given to Bromborough Golf Club to be planted around the course and make it more wildlife friendly.

Below is a map of where some of the 1000 barberry plants that were given away have been planted:

Barberry giveaway map

Since 2013, Chester Zoo conservationists have been working with the Canal and River Trust, Butterfly Conservation and other zoos to help save the rare moth species. Together we’ve planted barberry bushes in hedges along 30km of canals in the North West.

The barberry bush is also a safe space for other wildlife, including birds that nest amongst the branches and eat their berries in autumn.

We hope people will join us in protecting threatened species here in the UK and create safe spaces for local wildlife to thrive. We have a whole host of guides and resources to show how small changes can make a BIG difference, discover more here

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