Wildlife Photography and Digital Video Images
__________________________________________________________________________________________ Mammals 39 European Water Voles
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††† ††††††† EUROPEAN WATER VOLE Arvicola amphibius
∑ The European Water Vole Arvicola amphibius is now so threatened in the UK that it has along with the Western Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus become a flagship species for conservationists. As is usually the case with declining wildlife there is human culpability. As suitable habitat has been placed under ever-increasing and relentless pressure this formerly widespread and common mammal has been forced into the margins, a situation that has hardly been helped by the deliberate release of fiercely predatory non-native American Minks Mustela vison, pollution, chemical run-off into river systems, a warming climate or water abstraction. There is some evidence to suggest that the American Mink has been unable to compete with a (very welcome) resurgence Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra population but even with a determined trapping programme these mustelids cannot be fully contained and they remain a threat to one of our most delightful native mammals. Their presence will also debar the re-introduction of Water Voles into otherwise suitable habitats.
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