Water voles thrive along River Ver after reintroduction

A UK mammal dealing with extinction is prospering two years after being reintroduced to a Hertfordshire river.

About 150 water voles have been dropped at the banks of the River Ver, west of St Albans, in August 2021 by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Belief and the Ver Valley Society.

As a consequence of habitat loss, they’d final been seen there in 1987.

The animals’ occupancy within the Ver Valley has, on common, greater than doubled every year, the belief mentioned.

The belief mentioned water voles have been as soon as plentiful in rivers all through Hertfordshire however populations declined by over 90% within the final 50 years as a consequence of habitat loss and since they’re being preyed upon by American Mink, an invasive, non-native species

It added the voles are the quickest declining mammal within the nation and face extinction.

The voles have been reintroduced to a stretch of the River Ver after intensive restoration work to enhance the world.

For the reason that launch, the belief’s water vole officer, Josh Kalms, has headed up a workforce of volunteers who’ve been educated to search for indicators of water vole occupation, together with latrines and feeding websites.

The primary information collected in 2022 reported a 238% improve in vary alongside the river and its watercourses, whereas this 12 months’s findings present the occupancy within the Ver Valley, has, on common, greater than doubled every year.

Mr Kalms mentioned water voles are a “key species” for sustaining “wholesome wetland ecosystems” and it was “fantastic” to see how nicely they’re doing on the River Ver.

“They’re mini ecosystem engineers with their burrowing and feeding serving to our river banks and wetlands keep in good situation,” he mentioned.

“Water voles at the moment are occupying nearly all the River Ver between St Albans and Redbourn, with some travelling a further 4.8km upstream.

“This 12 months we counted extra water vole discipline indicators than the earlier 12 months and I am thrilled to have the ability to share this wonderful success story.”

The belief added it’s aiming to have water voles again in each river in Hertfordshire by 2030, topic to funding and appropriate areas.

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