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Population of Water Voles Declined by a Fifth in UK: Research

Sep 7, 2013 15:32 IST

The research carried out by the Environment Agency and Wildlife Trusts in UK revealed that the water voles dropped down by a fifth in UK since the year 2011. The reason for their declining population was predation by American mink, habitat loss as well as changing weather. Environment Agency and Wildlife Trusts carried out the research. The organisation is working for the creation of more vole-friendly waterways.

Water Voles were common sight centuries ago, but since 1970s, their number has declined by over 90 percent. This has happened because of breaking habitat and loss of habitat as well as escape of American mink into the countryside. American mink came to UK for their fur, but these, instead started feeding on the water voles. The problem of decreasing water voles is also prevalent in other parts of Europe, primarily Belgium and Netherlands.

Environment Agency and Wildlife Trusts were working towards creation of the new habitats for these voles. The Environment Agency is aiming towards creation of 10000 hectares of rivers and wetlands for prevention of these water voles.

What are Water Voles?

• The European water vole or northern water vole, also scientifically known as Arvicola amphibious, is the semi-aquatic rodent.
• It is also known as water rat.
• Water voles have round nose, deep brown fur, short fuzzy ears and chubby faces. They do not completely resemble the rats because the rats have paws, tails and ears covered with hair.
• The life of water voles is merely five months. Their maximum longevity in captivity is 2 and half years.
• The population of water voles in UK declined from approximately 8 million from pre 1960’s to 2.3 million in 1990. In the year 1998, the population of the water voles in UK was 354000.


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