New scheme to protect voles
After years of national decline, a pioneering scheme has been launched in the North York Moors National Park to revive the population of water voles.
Some success has already been achieved says the park’s Sam Newton and hopes are high that the famous character from Kenneth Grahame’s legendary 1908 classic “Wind in the Willows, will see numbers rise after many were lost due to mink escaping from specialist farms and turning feral.
The park’s new ambitious project, “This Exploited Land”, is running the project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund to save the voles. “Our project will also help to save many other species,” said Sam. “We already have a good picture of where surviving populations of water voles are, so the initial step is to try and understand numbers and movements of mink.
“From this we can work out how we can secure and hopefully expand our water vole population.”
He is urging anyone interested in monitoring the famous “Ratty” character from Grahame’s book by reporting sightings of mink. “This is the time of year when juvenile mink will be travelling long distances, along and near water in search of a territory of their own,” added Sam.
The voles have also suffered as a result of changes in agricultural land, and pollution of vegetated river habitats.