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Where’s Ratty?

Posted: Monday 18th January 2016 by RiverSearch

Photo by Dave Foker

There was once a thriving population of Water Voles in Surrey and speaking to volunteers and residents, many people have fond memories of seeing them scuttling around our river banks.

Unfortunately since the introduction and spread of the non-native and invasive American mink, numbers have dropped dramatically and they have not been recorded in the county since 2008.

As part of the Surrey Water Vole Recovery Program, last year we began a season of intense surveying to find out if we have any last remaining populations. Sadly we are 64 surveys down the line no positive signs of Water Voles have been found. But there is still hope! We are planning our second season of surveys this year to either track down any hardy voles that are managing to stave off mink attacks or to help confirm that the species is functionally extinct in the county. If this is the case, we will follow neighbouring counties such as Hampshire, East Sussex and Kent and start planning a reintroduction of the species. 

In our quest to track down the last of the Water Voles, we need more willing volunteers to get out onto local streams, rivers and ponds to look for signs of Ratty. You will need to be trained in survey methods and we will be running a number of training courses throughout the year.

Contact Alex.Learmont@surreywt.org.uk to register your interest. 

Alex Learmont

Assistant Conservation Officer

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