Mink control vital to save water voles

January 9, 2009
Water voles are one of the UK's most endangered mammals

(PhysOrg.com) -- Keeping water vole and mink populations apart is vital if efforts to reintroduce water voles, one of Britain’s most endangered mammals, are to be successful.

The finding was one of many made by Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (the WildCRU) reported in this year’s State of Britain’s Mammals report, co-authored by the WildCRU’s Professor David Macdonald and Dr Dawn Burnham.

The Oxford researchers also found that the quantity of streamside vegetation had a big impact on the survival and growth of reintroduced water vole populations.

Water vole numbers have been in decline for over 20 years due to more intensive agricultural practises, infrastructure development, and predation by the American mink. In April 2008 the water vole received additional legal protection in order to boost its chances of survival.

Elsewhere in the report WildCRU researchers examined the best way of controlling the American mink, which is having a significant impact on populations of native British birds and water voles. Their work suggests that only constant monitoring and targeted trapping of the animals and the creation of ‘mink free zones’ will enable native species to recover.

In the report the WildCRU team also discussed how feral cat populations could be managed to ensure that the 400-strong population of Scottish wildcats does not disappear and how the extinct Eurasian lynx might be reintroduced in Scotland and northern England.

The report, The State of Britain’s Mammals 2008, is due to be published by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species later this month.

Provided by Oxford University

Explore further: 'Lonely heart' water voles crucial to population survival

Related Stories

'Lonely heart' water voles crucial to population survival

September 6, 2012

Young males and females can spend weeks crossing heather moors, bog lands and mountains, often putting themselves in grave danger in a bid to bag a mate.  Their quest can see them embark on journeys of up to 15km from their ...

Flooded British villages ignite climate debate

February 3, 2014

As children climb into boats to get to school and scores of hoses pump floodwaters from fields day and night, one corner of southwest England is trying to reclaim its land. Other Britons watch and wonder: How much can you ...

Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

October 24, 2014

Amargosa voles, small rodents that inhabit rare marshes of the Mojave Desert, have faced dire circumstances in recent years. Loss of habitat, extreme drought and climate change brought this subspecies of the California vole ...

Ticks and endangered voles linked by migrating birds

January 31, 2014

Migrating birds probably did it. That's what University of California, Davis, epidemiology professor Janet Foley says after DNA detective work confirmed that a disease-carrying tick only found in the southeastern United States ...

Recommended for you

Force triggers gene expression by stretching chromatin

August 26, 2016

How genes in our DNA are expressed into traits within a cell is a complicated mystery with many players, the main suspects being chemical. However, a new study by University of Illinois researchers and collaborators in China ...

The sound of a healthy reef

August 26, 2016

A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will help researchers understand the ways that marine animal larvae use sound as a cue to settle on coral reefs. The study, published on August 23rd in the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.