Island Water Vole colony moved due to rising waters


A colony of 13 Water Voles has been moved due to climate change-related threats.

The rodent's freshwater pond on the National Trust's Northey Island in Essex has been subject to rising water levels. This has made the pond's future "unsustainable", the charity said, and it hoped the colony's new home would help the rodents' survival.

The voles were transferred to soft-release pens before being allowed to burrow out to explore their new habitat on the island near Maldon (National Trust).

The transfer to a new pond is part of a conservation project on the island, which is in the Blackwater Estuary. Daniel Leggett, senior project manager for the National Trust, said they worked with licensed professionals to find and transport the protected species to their "new ideal pond".

"We've been carrying out major work on the island for several years to strengthen and improve the saltmarsh habitat, which plays an important role in protecting the island from rising sea levels, creating a natural flood defence and helping in our fight against climate change," he said.

The animals were caught in special traps with bedding and food, and they were given a basic health check before being move to the new pond.

Mr Leggett said: "There's lots of grass and marginal vegetation for them to move from their burrows into the water and they even have their own island. The freshwater pond will also be a great habitat for lots of other wildlife including birds such as Reed Bunting, Common Linnet, Common Shelduck and Common Redshank, which are also protected species."