Water Vole Recovery Project
Help the London Water Vole Recovery Project to better understand the current distribution of water vole and American mink across the capital to aid in water vole conservation.
The London Water Vole Recovery Project is an exciting new initiative supported by the Mayor of London’s Rewild London Fund II to form a collaborative network acting across Greater London, sharing expertise on water vole and water vole habitat conservation. The Zoological Society of London, Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the London Wildlife Trust are coming together to build on previous efforts to bolster pre-existing water vole populations.
Water voles have been the victims of habitat loss, water pollution and extreme predation by the non-native American mink. These factors have led to these charismatic animals becoming one of the UK’s fastest declining mammals – a trend which has also been observed in London. As they are restricted in their ability to migrate long distances, water voles are often unable to spread to more suitable habitat, leading to greater decline. It is therefore vital that we understand where there are current populations that persist within London and where American mink are entering London’s waterways.
We are asking Londoners to explore their local waterways, check for signs of water vole presence and log their findings in the recording form below. We would also like you to share any sightings or signs of American mink to help understand how this species is moving through our landscape and where it could be a potential threat to remnant water vole populations. The form highlights the key signs to help identify both species but we ask that any observations are accompanied by a photo where possible.
Your involvement will be vital to help the partnership assess where to perform in-depth site surveys, to ascertain where populations remain and where there is suitable habitat, free from the threat of American mink, to enable water vole expansion.
Though water voles are elusive creatures, you are most likely to see signs of them throughout their breeding season, lasting between April and early October, so it’s time to get out and start scouting!
Header image by Iain Green