There is hope a rare dragonfly found in Suffolk could be removed from the endangered list after it was spotted as far away as South Devon and Lancashire. 

Following its extinction from the Cambridgeshire Fen in 1893, the only known breeding sites for the Norfolk Hawker before 2013 were in east Suffolk and east Norfolk. 

From 2001 it started to expand across Norfolk and Suffolk and became well-established in Cambridgeshire, Kent, and Herefordshire. 

Since then there have been reported sightings in Wigan, Bolton, Blackpool, South Devon, Dorset, Sussex, and other southern counties as recorded in annual surveys by the British Dragonfly Society. 

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East Anglian Daily Times: Norfolk Hawker dragonflyNorfolk Hawker dragonfly (Image: Tom Barret)

It is believed the recent spread and colonisation of the Norfolk Hawker beyond Suffolk is likely due to climate change. 

According to the Broads Authority, the Hawker has been able to expand its range to the north and west as average temperatures have risen. 

It is hoped the new inland colonies could lead to the species being downgraded from endangered on the Odonata Red Date List for Great Britain, as the breeding sites are not vulnerable to sea level rise and saline intrusion. 

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Dr Pam Taylor, convenor of the British Dragonfly Society, said: "Although the Hawker's overall range has expanded greatly, there are still huge gaps in its current distribution.

"It will need to infill many of these gaps before the species is truly secure in this country and only time will tell whether it will succeed."

Andrea Kelly from the Broads Authority said: "What appears to be good news about the spread of the Norfolk Hawker and its potential relisting as no longer endangered, is in fact a call to action about the significant threats to its precious wetland habitat.

"The only way to ensure no further species loss is to continue to protect and restore its current wetland and fen habitats across East Anglia."