Water voles leave their mark on Llyn Peninsula

Picture courtesy of  www.northeastwildlife.co.uk
Picture courtesy of www.northeastwildlife.co.uk

BASC has discovered more signs of water voles on the Llyn Peninsula during surveys this summer.

Feeding piles and burrows have been found along quieter stretches of the Geirch river, which supports the belief that control of the non-native North American mink is having a positive impact on water vole populations.

Audrey Watson, BASC’s Green Shoots officer Wales, said: “We conducted surveys last month with Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Gwynedd County Council and volunteers which revealed evidence of water voles feeding and living mainly in side ditches and drains, off the main river channel.

“This suggests they are still hanging on, although perhaps being pushed into refuge areas where the habitat is more suitable or to escape predators, particularly mink.

“The alien North American mink has been a major factor in the decline of water vole populations due to their ability to get down burrows and wipe out entire families.

“We have been carrying out a co-ordinated programme of mink control in the region since 2011 and, fortunately, we have not found any signs of mink so far this year. In fact, our trappers have trapped many fewer over the last few years, so we hope we are having an impact. “

Surveys conducted in late summer 2015, as part of the NRW-funded Green Shoots in Wales project, found water vole feeding piles and latrines on the Soch and Geirch rivers. One volunteer spotted a water vole while out on an early morning run.

Further surveys will take place later this year on the rivers Geirch, Soch and Penrhos.

ENDS

For more information, please contact BASC’s press office on 01244 573007 or email press@basc.org.uk