Water vole numbers are doing well at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest in Dorset.
300 water voles were reintroduced across East Dorset over 2011 and 2012. Sightings this year have been numerous, with water voles now seen regularly along the extensive Crane and Moors river system. The park logs every reported sighting, so that they can monitor numbers closely.
Park rangers are particularly pleased about this turnaround, especially in the face of the overall UK 20% water vole population decline.
“Moors Valley was the first country park in the south to take this initiative and we believe our hard work has really paid off for our water vole families,” said Matt Reeks, Senior Countryside Ranger.
“The project has also united the local landowners who we brought together and encouraged to provide suitable habitats and continue to monitor a wide surrounding area for mink activity to ensure our voles are not be eaten by this aggressive, non-native predator”.
This site has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, meaning that this is a delicate, but well-managed habitat.
“We are interested in finding out how far they have moved along the river system,” added Matt. “I’d ask anyone visiting Moors Valley or strolling by the Moors River to keep their eyes open – and listen out for the distinctive ‘plop’ of the vole when it enters the water – and report any sightings to the Visitor Centre.”
For more information about the water vole programme or Moors Valley, please visit their website or call 01425 470721.