Water vole release in Nidderdale
Water voles are being released into a site in near Pateley Bridge as part of the second phase of a nature scheme to help the endangered mammals.
Some 100 water voles are being released in Timble Ings Woods in the Washburn Valley, part of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) from Tuesday this week, following the introduction of the same number last September.
Yorkshire Water, which is running the scheme, said surveys suggest the 100 voles brought into the site last year have become established in the woodland, with feeding signs, latrines and burrows all spotted.
Evidence of water voles has been found up to 500 yards from the original release site, suggesting they are settling into their new home, the water company said.
Lee Pitcher, head of partnerships at Yorkshire Water, said: “We’re pleased to see evidence the water voles we released in September have settled into their habitat, with piles of nibbled grass and stems, as well as droppings spotted recently.”
The aquatic mammals, immortalised as Ratty in Wind in the Willows, live along slow-flowing rivers, ditches, dykes and lakes with plenty of vegetation, making extensive burrows in the banks.
They have suffered steep declines in recent years as a result of being preyed on by invasive American mink, as well as loss and degradation of their habitat and water pollution, and have been identified as a key species for conservation in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty.
The release project forms part of a Yorkshire Water “water works for wildlife” initiative.