Appeal to protect water voles

PUBLISHED: 12:32 27 April 2006 | UPDATED: 14:40 12 May 2010

WATER voles living on the River Rib in Buntingford are under threat but a wildlife trust is appealing for support to help protect them. At Monday s Community Voice meeting, the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust explained how it is looking to carry out a

WATER voles living on the River Rib in Buntingford are under threat but a wildlife trust is appealing for support to help protect them.

At Monday's Community Voice meeting, the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust explained how it is looking to carry out a survey to see how many water voles are in the area.

Low water levels and large numbers of mink mean that numbers of voles on the Rib have gradually decreased.

The voles have become increasingly vulnerable to foxes and herons so they are dependent on vegetation and river banks which enable them to make burrows to hide away from larger carnivores.

Alison Washbrook who is involved with the Water Vole Appeal, said: "If people want to encourage water voles, they need to make sure there is lots of vegetation, because it is not as lush as it used to be on the Rib.

"People can also highlight any potential development that could be a threat."

There have been some possible sightings of water voles on the Rib, but there are very few, a situation the trust said it would continue to look at over the next two years.

"If anyone sees voles let us know and we can try to protect them," said Ms Washbrook.

"The Rib has a lot of potential. It used to be very good for water voles 20 years ago."

Issues such as problems with litter and a build up of sediment were also up for discussion at the meeting.

Stan Bull, chairman of Buntingford Community Voice, said: "Concern for the environment is on everyone's mind at the moment."

People can make a donation and support the Water Vole Appeal by calling Alison Washbrook on 01727 858901.

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