‘Help save the water vole – join our team!’ urges charity

Once a common sight along our riverbanks and waterways, the water vole is now the fastest declining mammal in the UK – so a leading wildlife charity is asking for your help.

2nd May 2017
Wate vole emerging from burrow

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is asking volunteers to walk along their local waterway, looking for signs of water vole or even the animal itself, and recording the results.

The charity says volunteers don’t have to be animal experts to get involved – after signing up, they will receive a “guide to water vole field signs” to help them tell water voles from other rodents.

Water vole in a release tube
Water Voles were introduced to some West Country waterways in 2008 © Getty 

Habitat loss from an increase in intensive farming and watercourse pollution saw water vole populations crash by nearly 90% between 1989 and 1999. American mink – predators of the vole – then became the biggest threat after their mass release from fur farms in the 1990s. 

Many conservation groups are trying to improve habitats and control mink numbers to protect vole populations. PTES now looks to record how the voles are faring, using the data to find sites with successful conservation methods in place – and those that require extra protection.

PTES says it is looking for survey volunteers from all over Britain, but especially north-east England, the West Midlands, southern Scotland and across Wales to assist in the conservation of one of Britain’s cutest rodents.

To get involved in the National Water Vole Monitoring Programme (NWVMP), visit www.ptes.org/get-involved

Main Image Credit: Getty 

Get your first 5 issues for just £5 when you subscribe to BBC Countryfile magazine!

Subscribe to BBC Countryfile Magazine today and you can enjoy generous savings from the shop price plus, free UK delivery and discounts off special editions and back issues.

Countryfile Magazine - Current Issue