A nationwide wildlife survey carried out by members of the public has revealed encouraging numbers of one of the country’s best loved and most threatened species, the water vole, on canals and rivers in the East Midlands.
Six months ago, the Canal and River Trust, the charity that cares for 2,000 miles of the nation’s historic waterways, asked the public to join the battle to stop the water vole, known as ‘Ratty’ from going extinct. Analysis of water vole sightings by the Trust, dating back to 1970, had highlighted an inexorable decline in the species over the last 45 years*.
The people of the East Midlands reported 16 prospective breeding sites for the shy and elusive water vole at several places across Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.
Imogen Wilde, ecologist for the Canal and River Trust said: “Having received such a high number of water vole sightings is really good news and knowing where they are distributed is vital in helping us to monitor them, and maintain and protect their habitats to help halt their decline.
“But it’s not just water voles that were spotted in the East Midlands.
“ What’s striking as we look down the list is the sheer variety of wildlife that can be found on our local waterways and it demonstrates what a diverse and accessible place our waterways are to experience nature up close.
Other species spotted included barn owls, deer, damselflies, grass snakes, kingfishers and several different types of butterfly.
“We’re really grateful to the people of the East Midlands for sending us their sightings and helping us to build a better picture of all the wildlife that’s using the region’s waterways.”