Water voles, the UK’s fastest declining mammal, have received a welcome boost thanks to our supporters and the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.
Our volunteers teamed up with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust to survey a 13km-stretch of the Rufford Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal between Tarleton and Burscough to identify where support was needed.
While the canal was a vole hotspot, it was in danger of losing them because of the inconsistency of the banks, which prevented the voles from mixing with other colonies.
Following the survey work, more volunteers helped carry out the habitat enhancements which are vital to provide food and shelter for these furry creatures and to provide a green corridor to enable them to travel.
Stephen Leigh, Canal & River Trust ecologist, said: “Water vole populations have rapidly declined in recent years, largely as a result of habitat loss and predation by mink. This support from the People’s Postcode Lottery makes a massive difference as we can extend the water voles’ territory, enhance the area where they live and play our part in conserving and restoring their populations.”
Jo Bucci, managing director of People’s Postcode Lottery, commented: “On behalf of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile scheme to protect an endangered species alongside our waterways. Canals and rivers clearly offer a vital haven for a range of wildlife and the work Canal & River Trust does to help protect the environment is admirable, so this is a fitting project to support.”