During recent months the rangers have been working on a project based on the River Meon in Hampshire, aiming to aid the growth of Water Vole population in the UK. Water Voles are found living in burrows near to slow moving water and are often mistaken for rats because of their brown fur and long tails. As one of the rarest mammals in the UK Water Voles are a protected species and its preservation is of great importance to the wider ecology of river banks across the UK.
Since the 1960’s British Water Vole numbers have dwindled, accelerated by predators such as American Minks that had escaped from Fur Farms. It is believed that the Water Vole population has decreased by nearly 90 percent in recent decades, so projects such as this, in tandem with Derek Gow Consultancy are really important in securing a future for this species of British wildlife.
The project has involved Feadon Farm looking after a ‘breeding pair’ of Water Voles, ensuring a safe environment for breeding. It has been a very successful summer, with 15 young Water Voles that have now been taken to Devon where they will be released into a monitored natural environment.
Here are some shots of the team counting and collecting the Water Voles ready to take to their new home.
If you’d like to find out more about this endearing little creature you’ll find projects all around the UK, many backed by the National Trust and other environmental agencies.
At Feadon Farm the team are always working on valuable conservation projects, helping to preserve and promote awareness of native British wildlife and those from further afield.