Water voles are Britain’s fastest declining mammal species and a key indicator for the health of our waterways.
The last survey for water voles in Ealing was carried out in 2009 by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. Commissioned by Ealing Council, the survey found five, possibly six locations with promising signs of water vole activity. It’s no wonder numbers have declined. Many of these sites have suffered habitat degradation over time. Populations that might be present could also be prone to habitat fragmentation and predation pressure. (photo: Sean McCormack)
Ealing Wildlife Group is surveying key sites in Ealing, looking for the presence of water voles. This forms a two year surveying period and feeds into the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) water vole monitoring programme. We hope to work in collaboration with Brent River and Canal Society (BRCS), Ealing Council and London Wildlife Trust on future water vole projects.
We don’t know if water voles still exist in Ealing so the first priority is to establish presence or absence. Secondly, if they are present, we want to protect them from further decline. We will need to protect and their habitats from degradation and expand their populations. Finally, if absent, we may consider habitat improvement and connectivity initiatives. In the longer term, we could also look at a reintroduction project! (photo: Sean McCormack)