Thursday, 13 September 2018

Water voles returning to national park in west country after 30 years

150 ‘Ratty’ river creatures to be released in Somerset estate where they had become extinct
Tue 11 Sep 2018 00.01 BST
One of the most beloved and endangered riverine creatures is returning to a west country national park where it has been extinct for more than three decades.
Over the next few days 150 water voles will be released at six locations in the Aller river on the Holnicote Estate on Exmoor in Somerset.
Once regularly spotted on Britain’s riverbanks, they are now the nation’s fastest declining land mammal, disappearing from 94% of their former sites due to factors including increased urbanisation, predators and a decline in natural habitat.
The new arrivals at Holnicote will be closely watched to see how they are settling in. Rangers, volunteers, students and members of the public will monitor their numbers.
They will use simple field signs to record their presence and behaviour, from actual sightings and “plopping” sounds as they dive into water to the tell-tale signal of grass blades nibbled off at distinctive 45 degree angles.

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