COREL Programme


COREL stands for the “Conservation of Rare and Endangered Lepidoptera”. The COREL programme was proposed in December 2011 by Dave Edge of the Lepidopterists’ Society of Africa (LSA) ( (Edge, 2011). This programme was a response to the outcome of the South African Butterfly Conservation Assessment (SABCA) project which identified 61 South African butterfly taxa (species or subspecies) (see below) as threatened in terms of the IUCN Red List categories and criteria ( (Mecenero et al., 2013).

The aims of the COREL programme are to promote and ensure the conservation of all threatened butterflies and moths. COREL initially focused on the Critically Endangered (CR) butterfly and moth taxa, of which there were 15, including the moth Callioratis millari ( Taxa in this category are at imminent risk of extinction, and four of these were assessed as possibly extinct (Mecenero et al., 2013.). For each CR taxon LSA therefore identified one or more custodians who took the primary responsibility for monitoring and preventing extinction of the taxon.

Between 2013 and 2018 LSA carried out another project – the South African Lepidoptera Conservation Assessment (SALCA) (Mecenero et al., 2015), and this project revised the threatened taxa as listed below:

IUCN Red List Category and number of taxa

Critically endangered, possibly extinct (CRPE) 5

Critically endangered (CR) 21

Endangered (EN) 29

Vulnerable (VU) 23

LSA and the Brenton Blue Trust are now now committed to saving all the CRPE, CR and EN taxa and sufficient custodians have been appointed. The vulnerable taxa are excluded from COREL at present.

The COREL programme appeals to private individuals as well as institutional and corporate funders to support this programme by making resources and funding available to prevent the tragic loss of these beautiful and charismatic emblems of our country’s amazing natural riches.


EDGE, D.A. 2011. Custodians of rare and endangered Lepidoptera (COREL). Metamorphosis 22(3 & 4): 81-96. (

MECENERO, S., BALL, J.B., EDGE, D.A., HAMER, M.L., HENNING, G.A., KRÜGER, M, PRINGLE, E.L., TERBLANCHE, R.F. & WILLIAMS, M.C.  2013. Conservation Assessment of Butterflies of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland: Red List and Atlas. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, South Africa.

MECENERO, S., EDGE, D.A. and STAUDE, H.S. 2015. Southern African Lepidoptera Conservation Assessment (SALCA). Metamorphosis 26: 116–122.


COREL Annual Reports