Enfield wildlife lovers asked to help spot endangered water vole

Have you seen the river-dwelling species anywhere around the borough?

Water vole swimming (credit Jessica Evans)
Water vole swimming (credit Jessica Evans)

Wildlife lovers in Enfield are being asked to track the whereabouts of endangered water voles and help reverse their decline in London and across the British Isles.

Water voles are said to be one of Britain’s fastest-declining mammals because of predation by invasive American mink and loss of habitat. While their numbers were once as high as 7.3 million, as water voles lived alongside streams and waterways across the country, the species has suffered a 93% decline since 1990.

To help reverse this trend, a Zoological Society of London (ZSL) team of conservationists is now asking for Enfield residents to help by reporting any sightings and signs of water voles in their local area.

As Enfield has the most extensive network of watercourses in the capital, it is likely there will be many places where water voles are living.

Speaking about the London Water Vole Project, Sam Facey, ZSL’s estuaries and wetlands project officers, said: “London’s residents can help us gain vital information to understand where the water voles might still be present in the city, we know there are some populations still present within London, but we still don’t have a clear picture across most of the city.”

The project is being run by ZSL in partnership with Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species. It is one of the 22 rewilding projects funded as part of round two of City Hall’s Rewild London Fund.

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The project is part of a wider plan to develop a network of partners to support the long-term recovery of once-abundant water vole populations in London and is linked to other ground-breaking rewilding initiatives to introduce water vole back into the capital’s rivers and streams.

Sam added: “We need the help of the public to look for water vole and provide the essential data that will allow us to pinpoint where we need to place our conservation efforts to help restore their populations.”

Water voles play an important role in shaping their river homes through promoting growth of a diverse range of plants, which supports more wildlife, so restoring the population will help conservationists to protect other native species as well.

A London Water Vole Project launch event is being held online on Monday (17th) from 6pm, where the team will be sharing their expert advice on how to identify water voles and signs of activity and how to upload data.

For more information and to report a water vole sighting:

For more information on the project launch event:

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