The water voles fight back
There's been some good news on the water vole front - the cute little fellows have been spotted in Chaddesden Park!
After decades of being driven into near extinction by the predatory North American Mink, there are some positive signs for fans of the water vole.
The cute little creatures have seen their population decimated by up to 90 per cent since the mink's arrival into Britain's waterways around 50 years ago.
Wildlife fans in Derby were concerned after seeing the voles driven out of Markeaton Brook over the past decade.
But this month reports have started coming in of the creatures being spotted in and around the Lees Brook in Chaddesden Park.
Now the voluntary group Friends of Chaddesden Park is working to make sure conditions around the brook are the best possible to encourage the voles to settle and breed.
Rosalind Allen and Dorothy Ireland
Dorothy Ireland, from the group, said: "We'd already started the process with a successful bid to Breathing Places to turn part of this park into a nature area.
"One of the reasons we have very long grass here is we'd agreed a management plan with the council to keep it long and only cut back the bank on alternate years.
"This should help give a habitat to the water voles. They love the long grass and because they are purely vegetarian they'll eat the shoots."
To help keep the water voles, people living along Lees Brook are encouraged to avoid cutting back their grass right to the edge of the brook and to think about providing a sheltered area for the creatures.
Dorothy says people can help by reporting sightings of the voles to Beverley Rhodes at WildDerby on 01332 255021.
People living along the Brook can also use that number to get advice on tailoring their gardens to encourage the water voles back.
last updated: 22/05/2009 at 16:48
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