Anglers save Awsworth's water voles
A Nottinghamshire angling club are helping protect the endangered water vole along Awsworth's canal.
Last year mink moved into the Nottingham Canal Local Nature Reserve at Awsworth.
The Awsworth canal had long been a stronghold for water voles but with the mink's arrival they disappeared, along with all the duck hatchlings.
Mink are not native to Britain. The American mink, a member of the weasel family, were originally brought to Britain for fur farming in 1929. They have been released into the wild and have been a major factor in the decline of the native water vole.
Dave is the secretary of Awsworth Angling Club, who lease the site from Broxtowe Borough Council. He isn't a fan of the mink:
"They're vicious little hunters. They will take anything."
The club decided to take action. They contacted their landlords, Broxtowe Borough Council, and told them about the problem. They were supplied with humane traps which the club have used to capture and remove the mink.
"Anglers sometimes get bad press over environmental issues but most are keen to look after the natural environment.
"Water voles are an endangered species and we like to look after them."
The control programme appears to be paying dividends as the water voles have reappeared on the Nottingham Canal.
"It is great to see them back."
Did you know...
Water voles are the largest British vole and are often mistaken for a rat.
Ratty from Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows" was actually a water vole.
They can consume up to 80% of their body weight daily.
In Russia water voles are hunted for their fur, it takes a lot of voles to make one coat.
They live for about five months in the wild, usually no more than 18 months, but can reach up to five years in captivity.
Steve Fisher, of Broxtowe Borough Council, is interested to hear of any sightings of mink in the Erewash Valley. He can be contacted on 0115 917 3634.
Endangered in Notts
Awsworth is not the only location in Nottinghamshire where water voles can be found. There is a small population in Sherwood Pines, they can be found at Rainworth Water, at Rufford Country Park and along the Trent floodplain, between North Muskham to Dunham Bridge.
Water voles are currently protected under schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. This means that it is an offence to kill or disturb water voles, and any developers trying to build on their habitat will have to catch every specimen in the area and provide them with a new home.
Learn more about Nottinghamshire's nature with John Holmes, weekdays, 14:00 to 16:00 on BBC Radio Nottingham (95.5 & 103.8FM, DAB and online).
last updated: 10/07/2009 at 13:32