Water voles thriving in Nidderdale AONB
Two hundred water voles released into Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) by Yorkshire Water are thriving in their new habitat.
Surveys of the area have found signs of the endangered animals up to 1km away from the original release site.
Burrows, droppings and feeding signs have been spotted throughout the area, indicating the population has thrived in the area. Regular checks for signs of the water voles’ main predator – the American mink – have found no signs of the animal.
Philip Tennyson, recreation coordinator at Yorkshire Water, said: “Water voles are one of the fastest declining mammals in Britain, having lost 97% of their former geographical range. Projects such as this release are vital for conservation, and we’re delighted that the population has established itself in this habitat.
“They are a key species for conservation in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the signs we have seen - piles of nibbled grass and stems, as well as droppings up to 1km away – shows they have thrived here.
“While this is a successful project, water voles are particularly sensitive to disturbance and the good work we’ve done so far can easily be lost. We would urge visitors to Timble Ings Woods to stay on the paths and keep dogs on a lead away from the ponds and watercourses to protect the fragile water vole population.”