Forest Ringlet Project Stage 2

During Stage 2 we will create awareness about this treetop species and endeavour to identify more locations where it is found, so that hikers, hunters and trampers and the like will be aware of it, reporting sightings to our database ( It will also include collection in areas of our native forest which are not protected by the Wildlife Act 2018 and breeding it in secure locations. We are aware that there are people in NZ who capture and kill this butterfly, selling the framed butterflies overseas. While this is not illegal we feel that it is to the detriment of the species and we will need to carry out our project while keeping the location confidential.

What community need do you propose to meet?

Rescue. New Zealanders are keen to protect and preserve ‘high profile’ native species such as the kiwi, takahe and kauri, yet very few people here or worldwide know of the forest ringlet. By investing in research of this unique endemic species, as well as raising awareness, it may become as iconic – thus helping to reduce habitat destruction.
Environment and biodiversity awareness: New Zealanders love butterflies but few are aware of their importance as indicators of the health of our environment. Raising awareness that the forest ringlet is not only ‘our own NZ butterfly’ but that its decline is indicative of a decline in the health of Aotearoa’s  natural environment
Education: When a person understands the life cycle and importance of butterflies they have a deeper respect for other aspects of the environment, conservation and biodiversity.

This species is not only endemic, but it is the only one of its kind. It is disappearing. If we lose it, an important part of New Zealand has gone forever. Records by Dr George Gibbs, noted entomologist, show that over recent years this butterfly has retreated from the Auckland and Wellington regions and other areas of native habitat and is only found in remote regions.

Scientists need assistance and funds to research why it is disappearing but there are other priorities for funding. If we don’t continue the work on the species it may be too late to do so.

How will you address the need?

Firstly, we will produce a poster to educate those who live or visit remote locations of the existence of this beautiful butterfly, asking them to be on the lookout of the various life stages and report to us areas where we did not know they exist. This will help us understand the conditions that the species needs to survive and thrive.

Secondly, we will transfer forest ringlets – with the necessary DOC permissions – to a safe location and breed from them, to learn more about their life cycle and relationship with host plants and nectar species. We are engaging with appropriate experts to ensure we have the best approach to breeding, and follow the correct protocols.

We will also engage with iwi and hapu in areas where the forest ringlet is known to exist to find ways with them in protecting and restoring this endemic species to non-endangered levels.

At the end of Stage 2 we will publish our findings in scientific journals, our website and in social media, and circulate the report to appropriate interested parties.We will prepare a media campaign to raise awareness and create interest in identification of both the butterfly and its host plants to contribute towards the restoration of this taonga.

Project Reports

Forest Ringlet Report 20210314

Forest Ringlet Project Report 20200416 redacted

Forest Ringlet Project Report 20200311 redacted

Downloadable Posters

A2 Poster as PDF

A2 Poster as JPG

A2 Poster as JPG

A3 Poster (JPG)

A4 Poster (JPG)

Letter of support from Sir Bob Harvey`

Further Information