Your chance to get in­volved with the vole pa­trol

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

VOL­UN­TEERS are needed in Hilling­don and Eal­ing to help Lon­don Wildlife Trust in­ves­ti­gate how small mam­mals, such as mice, shrew and vole are get­ting on in the bor­oughs.

The Trust’s Vole Pa­trol pro­ject aims to get a clearer pic­ture of how small wood­land mam­mals are do­ing in west Lon­don, and raise the pro­file of th­ese spe­cial lit­tle an­i­mals.

Vol­un­teers on ‘vole pa­trol’ do not need to have any pre­vi­ous knowl­edge or ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause they will be trained in spe­cial­ist small mam­mal mon­i­tor­ing tech­niques.

They will then be ready to help sur­vey and mon­i­tor pop­u­la­tions of mice ( wood mouse and yel­low-necked mouse), shrew (com­mon shrew and pygmy shrew) and vole (bank vole) at four wood­land habi­tats in Hilling­don, as well four oth­ers in west Lon­don.

Huma Pearce, Vole Pa­trol pro­ject of­fi­cer for Lon­don Wildlife Trust, said: “This is an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity to be in­volved in record­ing and rais­ing aware­ness of th­ese im­por­tant wood­land species. You needn’t have any ex­pe­ri­ence to vol­un­teer and, by do­ing so, you will pick up a range of mam­mal sur­vey and con­ser­va­tion skills from ex­perts here at Lon­don Wildlife Trust.

“Please get in touch if you would like to join our Vole Pa­trol team.”

None of th­ese species are cur­rently listed as con­ser­va­tion pri­or­i­ties, al­though shrews are pro­tected un­der the Wildlife and Coun­try­side Act.

How­ever, ur­ban de­vel­op­ment is putting in­creas­ing pres­sure on their habi­tats. Other fac­tors, such as pre­da­tion from do­mes­tic pets, may also im­pact on their num­bers.

Anec­do­tal ev­i­dence sug­gests th­ese tiny, largely noc­tur­nal crea­tures may be in de­cline, which in turn could have knock-on ef­fects for preda­tor species such as stoat, Vole Pa­trol will sur­vey for small mam­mals at the fol­low­ing sites:

Den­ham Lock Wood / Hilling­don

Gut­teridge Wood / Hilling­don

Ten Acre Wood / Hilling­don

Ruis­lip Woods / Hilling­don

Gun­ners­bury Tri­an­gle / Eal­ing/ Houn­slow

Perivale Wood / Eal­ing

Ten­telow Wood / Eal­ing

Long Wood / Eal­ing

weasel, owls and other birds of prey.

Vole Pa­trol, launched last au­tumn, is be­ing funded with a grant of £97,200 from the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund (HLF), made pos­si­ble by Na­tional Lot­tery play­ers.

If you would be in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing with this pro­ject and sur­vey­ing sites in Houn­slow, Hilling­don and Eal­ing, please con­tact Huma Pearce on hpearce@wild­lon­ uk or 020 8755 2339.

n TEAM­WORK: Vol­un­teers out on vole pa­trol in the woods around Hilling­don. The team is In­stalling foot­print tun­nels

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