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Images Dated 13th June 2022

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130622voles Featured 13 Jun 2022 Image

130622voles

Famed Ecologist Derek Gow releases his 30,000thwater vole at Trentham as part of the Estate? biodiversity boost
Watervoles, which are endangered in Great Britain, are set to be re-introduced todayat Trentham, in Staffordshire, as part of an important wildlife project toboost the UK? vole population. Trentham is working in partnership with famedecologist and author, Derek Gow, who will also be releasing his 30,000thvole and hosting a book signing on site.
The725-acre Estate has undergone a massive regeneration programme since 2003, whichincludes steps to increase biodiversity and re-introduce important species.
Wildlifeis a vital element of Trentham, which has a long-term commitment to natureconservation. Trentham boasts ancient Site of Special Scientific Interest(SSSI)woodlands which are home to historic trees and rare species. The Estate also has a broad range of habitatspopular with birds, bug life, otters, deer, amphibians and reptiles.
Ina bid to help re-introduce endangered water voles, Trentham is working alongsideecologist, reintroduction specialist and author,Derek Gow, who founded the Derek Gow Consultancy formed of a team of specialistsin water vole conservations, surveys, breeding and mitigation. The project isalso being supported by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.
Overthe next week, with a team of expert ecologists and volunteers, Trentham will installtemporary release pens for 200 water voles in 14 acres of the site with theprimary hope they will establish a self-sustaining breeding population. The water voles will bereleased onto Trentham Lake, a historical Lancelot ?apability?Brown designed featurecreated at the heart of the Estate.
Today will also mark a milestone for Derek as hereleases his 30,000th water vole.
Derek Gow comments: ?he release ofthe 30,000th water vole from a long-term captive breeding programme at Trenthamcomes at a time when the species?fortunes in the wild have hit a long timelow. Habitat loss in a multitude of forms, the isolation of remaining coloniesfrom any others nearby and predation by introduced North American Mink hasrestricted this once common animal to a fragment of their former range.Reintroduction projects in Scotland, England and Wales undertaken by me inpartnership with organisations such as the Forestry Commission, EnvironmentAgency and the Wildlife Trusts have restored significant populations tolandscapes where they have continued to prosper. This work has been recognisedas necessary by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as providing a critical lifeline forthis species?survival.?Since St Modwen? initiation of restoration workto the Estate and sympathetic management of the lake has changed, wildlife isthriving. Careful and controlled removal of non-native American Mink that decimatedvole numbers means that the Estate is ready to re-introduce these rarecreatures once again. Combine this with plantingof thousands of native marginal wildflowers and reeds, adjacent woodland andwetland restoration and a network of feeder brooks and watercourses, means theconditions are perfect for this British herbivore to thrive once again. Theseworks have contributed to flood mitigation, storage of carbon, as well asboosting biodiversity for a range of UK Priority species including harvest mice,water shrew and now water voles.
CarolAdams, Head of Horticulture & Biodiversity at Trentham, comments: ?hewetland meadows at Trentham are the perfect habitat to reintroduce water volesto, with diverse food sources to keep them sustained through the winter. Thearea has excellent connectivity with other suitable habitats to enable thevoles to naturally spread as their numbers increase both within the footprintof Trentham but also more broadly into this part of the river Trent catchment.?Nick Mott, River Restoration Manager at the StaffordshireWildlife Trust, adds: ?he Wildlife Trusts across the UK are working hard to savethe water vole by improving riverbank habitats and being involved in water volereintroduction schemes. We are proud to have workedalongside the team at Derek Gow Consultancy to assess the habitat and ensure asuitable environment for the re-introduction of water voles at Trentham and arelooking forward to a hopefully successful project.?Keeping the public informed is an important partof the project for the Gardens and Estate teams at Trentham, including raisingawareness around habitat conservation and restoration, how this supports both foodwebs and specific endangered species and how the public can inform andinfluence habitat conservation through volunteering or supporting projects intheir area.
The team also aims to showcase how the public canbe considerate of wildlife when accessing water courses and the important rolehabitat and species can have on reducing the effects of climate change

© Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel