Water Vole Recovery Project

by natalie-bickle in York, England, United Kingdom

Water Vole Recovery Project

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Protecting Yorkshire's water voles

by natalie-bickle in York, England, United Kingdom

(TEST PROJECT - do not pledge)

Water voles once thrived throughout the country and could be found on nearly every waterway in Britain. But within less than 50 years populations have plummeted by a shocking 90% - becoming one of the UK’s fastest declining species.

Yorkshire's water voles

The water vole is one of our most iconic and best loved British mammals. Bigger than most other vole species, the water vole has chestnut-brown fur, a blunt, rounded nose, small ears, and a furry tail, and is famously represented by 'Ratty' in Kenneth Grahame's classic children's tale The Wind in the Willows.

Living along rivers, streams and ditches, as well as other small bodies of water, the best signs of water voles are burrows in the riverbank, often with a nibbled 'lawn' of grass around the entrance.


Population status

Sadly the once common and widespread status of water voles is threatened, having suffered a 90% drop in population since the 1970s with many of Yorkshire's wetlands missing this enigmatic semi-aquatic rodent.

In East Yorkshire, however, the picture is a little more rosy, with water vole populations still hanging on and in some areas thriving colonies are still present.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have been working to protect water voles across the eastern part of the county for a number of years, carrying out surveys to find out if water voles are present on site and focusing on habitat maintenance and restoration to help support these friendly wetland inhabitants.

Our project aims:

  • Reduce the effects of predation from American mink
  • Fund a project officer and assistant, to bring together local communities, landowners, NGOs and government bodies.
  • Purchase equipment to extend both the mink trapping and water vole surveys.
  • Develop a wider regional landscape scale

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