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3Address for correspondence: Division of Agronomy and Soil Science, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales 2351

In 1996, the South African transitional government drafted legislation to conserve biodiversity. Around this time lepidopterists, other conservationists and the Lepidopterists Society of Africa publicised the plight of the endangered Brenton Blue Butterfly in South Africa. This butterfly is restricted to a small locality in the midst of a new housing development. The Brenton Blue Butterfly became a test case for the power of the new conservation legislation. During the summer of 1996–97, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers was contracted by the Endangered Wildlife Trust of Southern Africa to determine the status, conservation priorities, ecological requirements of the butterfly, and to identify factors contributing to its population decline. Habitat loss appears to be the main factor contributing to population decline. Management of the population will focus on maintaining food plant populations while preventing any further detrimental anthropogenic disturbances.

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