We have been busy behind the scenes scoping out the habitats, logistics and feasibility considerations for reintroducing Harvest Mice to Ealing. This tiny rodent species has declined significantly nationwide in recent decades, and we believe after much surveying in suitable habitats that it is locally extinct. For more context on Harvest Mice and the project you can watch our kick off meeting here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNbY6TtgJnA&t=13s

As with any reintroduction project, there are ethical and practical procedures and guidelines to follow so as not to:

  • cause harm to the local ecosystem
  • cause welfare issues with the reintroduced species or others in the local environment
  • cause socio-economic harm or concerns
  • introduce disease into natural ecosystems
Harvest Mouse by Amy Lewis, The Wildlife Trusts

We have reviewed DEFRA’s newly released codes and guidance for reintroductions and other conservation translocations. And we feel we have satisfied the requirements as well as carried out the appropriate surveying and preparations needed to justify and carry out a successful reintroduction programme. We’ve also consulted with previous Harvest Mouse reintroduction project managers and rewilding experts who advised us that we have the suitable, sustainable and connected habitat to bring back this lost species again. More info on the codes and guidance can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987068/reintroductions-conservation-translocations-code-and-guidance-england.pdf

So what’s next and where are our mice coming from? Well, we’ve teamed up with a zoo and country park in Scotland who maintain a large colony of harvest mice and want to collaborate with us on an in-situ reintroduction and conservation project for the species in their natural habitat. We’re also working with renowned rewilding advocate and expert, Derek Gow and his team, who are supplying us with captive bred mice for mass release and to start our own ongoing captive breeding programme.

And we cannot thank you, our supporters, enough for donating to fund the project by sponsoring a mouse (or many mice in some cases!). It’s a project which has obviously captured the public imagination, and it has also attracted some media attention (watch this space!). We hope to start releasing mice as early as July and September this year, and hope to have some of you along to see ‘your’ mice return to the wild. The crowdfunding was a great success, and is still open for donation to support ongoing costs of the project if you wish to sponsor a mouse for just £10.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ealingharvestmice

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