A Losing Battle

Malcolm Chant

Joined September 2008

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Walking along the River Sally spotted this little Water Vole, what a sight to see as they are in decline.

‘Ratty’

Water voles, immortalised by Ratty from Wind in the Willows, were once a common sight in the UK’s waterways.

But since the 1970s, water vole numbers are thought to have declined by more than 90%.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote
We have seen a drop of about 20%”
End Quote
Alastair Driver

Environment Agency

Mr Driver said: “There is no doubt this was a combination of two factors. First of all the loss of habitat and the breaking up of habitat, and then the escape of American mink into the countryside.”

American mink were brought to the UK for their fur, but after some escaped, or were released, they established and spread, preying on water voles.

It has been a problem that has also been seen in other parts of Europe, particularly the Netherlands and Belgium.

Surveys across the UK have now shown another steep fall.

“Initially, we started to see an increase in numbers because of projects which were controlling mink and improving the habitat,” said Mr Driver.

“But now we have seen a drop of about 20%.”

FUJI S!

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