Once present in almost every waterway in the UK, water voles are now vulnerable to extinction. They suffered a dramatic 90% decline in population in the 1980s and ‘90s, and they still desperately need our help. Without immediate action, these charismatic creatures will disappear from our riverbanks.
Water voles have lost their homes to unsympathetic river management, making them increasingly vulnerable to their main predator and a critical threat to their survival: the ferocious, non-native and invasive American mink. Further, grazing livestock trample their burrows and agricultural chemicals pollute and degrade water quality. We aim to not only restore their natural habitats but educate and inspire people to act for water voles through the effective long-term management of local waterways.
Through extensive water vole research since the 1990s, we know how to create and restore their natural habitat, how to raise awareness of their plight and educate local communities, and how to control American mink. Alongside reintroductions and bespoke landowner advice, our National Water Vole Monitoring Programme tracks water voles in the UK to understand where their recovery needs further support. This vital insight helps us target our conservation efforts in the right places.