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As part of BBC One's series Nature of Britain, we visit Manchester to explore one of Britain’s most threatened mammals, the water vole.
Manchester is really lucky in that it has the pond capital of the UK right on its doorstep. There are more ponds in Cheshire than any other county on the UK.
Pond dipping can uncover a whole host of wildlife and if you are really lucky, you may find a great crested newt:
One of the creatures that is getting a helping hand to increase its numbers is the water vole - one of Britain’s most threatened mammals.
Thanks to the invasion of the American mink, they have all but disappeared from 94% of the rivers where they used to be found. Yet ponds constitute a safe habitat for them and a team at Chester Zoo has been breeding water voles in captivity then releasing them into ponds.
Presenter Janet Sumner helps to release a female water vole into a pond in Cheshire. The mammal is wearing a radio collar so the team from Chester Zoo can monitor her movements.
Water voles are much larger than bank voles or field voles, they are vegetarian and use their huge teeth to burrow into the soil on the banks of rivers and ponds. The teeth are so strong that they can burrow through solid chalk.
last updated: 20/03/2008 at 14:54