Why is the vole endangered?

Why is the vole endangered?

Changes in vegetation due to altered water patterns, invasive plant species, and human activity such as converting marshes into pasture and the building of the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad line have altered and reduced the amount of available habitat for the vole.

Are water voles protected?

Water voles are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence to intentionally: kill, injure or take them.

How many water voles are left in the UK?

How many water voles are in the UK? Our latest population estimate for water voles, published in the Mammal Society Red List of British Mammals (2020) was 132,000 in Great Britain. This can be broken down as: 77,200 estimated in England, 50,000 in Scotland, and 4,500 in Wales.

What dangers do water voles face?

Threats. Water voles used to be found in nearly every waterway in England, Scotland and Wales but are now thought to have been lost in up to 90% of these sites. Threats include habitat loss and fragmentation from unsympathetic riverside management, predation by non-native American mink and pollution.

How do water voles help environment?

The solution Water voles accomplish this through creating burrow networks. This dries the surrounding wet soil and promotes soil microbial activity which in turn regulates the availability of nitrogen, an important nutrient for plant growth.

What do water voles do for the environment?

For water voles, their existence can impact soil and plant biodiversity around their burrows. When water voles dig into the ground around river banks, they move nutrients around, bringing some to the surface. Studies have shown that this activity can increase the soil nutrients needed for plants to grow.

Why is the water vole important?

Water voles are a vital part of river ecosystems. Their burrowing, feeding and movements help to create conditions for other animals and plants to thrive – a bit like beavers do, but on a much smaller scale.

How do voles burrow?

Voles typically tunnel on the surface creating two-inch wide runways with golf-ball-sized entry holes. Their surface tunnels are usually most noticeable in early spring.

Are water voles ecosystem engineers?

Water voles are considered ‘ecosystem engineers’ which means they alter habitats and availability of resources for other wildlife. They create burrows in the rivers banks which changes the soil, drying it out and changing the nutrients available.

Are water voles a keystone species?

Unlike otters, a breeding female mink can enter a water vole’s burrow and will eradicate a water vole colony in one breeding season. Water voles are a keystone species and when they are absent a riverbank is impoverished.

Why are water voles failing to thrive?

Far too many banks across the UK are strimmed to ground-level and over zealously tidied from spring through to autumn, leaving water voles no choice but to move on. Nowadays water voles are failing to thrive due to a desperate shortage of ideal habitat.

What is the best habitat for water voles?

Ideal water vole habitat with a 3m uncut margin, including emergent vegetation. It is easy to provide a home for water voles, so that populations can thrive or expand and move into your waterway, pond or lake.

How dangerous are water voles to humans?

Water voles will tolerate high levels of human disturbance in places such as streams alongside supermarket car parks where they have become habituated to humans. As Kate Long has observed:

Can you help save the water voles of Britain?

Water voles Water voles have experienced one of the most rapid and serious declines of any British wild mammal ever. We are dedicated to saving this national treasure, and you can help too.