Bid to boost water vole numbers in Wales

Water voles are being released at a site just outside Llanelli in a bid to boost population numbers

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Efforts made to ensure suitable habitat for water voles

In the run-up to the release of the water voles lots of work has been done to make the habitat suitable. Ditches have been cleared and fenced to make them suitable for water voles as well as monitoring and trapping mink in the areas around Ffrwd Farm reserve.

A water vole gets used to being back in the water Credit: PA

“We are really excited to be involved in this project and to know it will see the return of the water voles to this area, after so many years of their absence. We have worked in partnership with Natural Resources Wales on this site for many years to improve the quality of the habitat, and this project really builds on all that hard work. Ffrwd Farm is a beautiful nature reserve, and water voles were once common in this area. It’s wonderful to think we could see that again.”

– Dr Lizzie Wilberforce, Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales

Water vole population down by 95% since 1960s

The UK’s population of water voles has reduced by up to 95 per cent since the 1960s but it's hoped that the release of 100 young voles at a nature reserve just outside Llanelli will help boost the population.

Water voles were once common across Wales Credit: PA

“Water voles were once common in rivers, canals and ponds across Wales.

“But habitat loss and predation by American mink means that they have suffered a huge decline in the last few decades and are now highly endangered.

“Setting up this new population in an ideal site is an important step to give them a better chance of survival in West Wales.

“From here the voles will be able to disperse into the surrounding landscape to re-colonise the ditch systems where they were once common.

“In the longer term, we hope that they will link up with existing populations in Llanelli and Laugharne.”

– Hilary Foster, Biodiversity Officer, Natural Resources Wales

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