The Great British Water Vole

A plump brown water vole sits at the waters edge chewing on a leaf. The text reads 'American Mink versus the Great British water vole'.

Our new Naturally Native project officer, Mark Slaughter, tells us about the significant threat American Mink poses to our Great British water vole.

The fur industry brought American mink to the UK from North America in 1929. Some escaped from mink farms and others have been intentionally released. By 1956 they were breeding in the wild. Today, American mink are widespread across Great Britain.

Covering wide-ranging territories, they feed on a variety of prey, such as birds, eggs, fish and small mammals. Because of this, they are a particular threat to water vole populations.

What can we do to help the water vole?

The recently launched Naturally Native project aims to reverse the water vole’s decline in the Tees Valley, County Durham and Northumberland. With a combination of surveying, habitat management and humane control, the project aims to redress the balance.

One of the most important things you can do is to report mink and water vole sightings. We’re also looking for volunteers to help with our surveys and monitoring mink rafts. If you want to get involved, write to: mslaughter@teeswildlife.org

You can read the full story in the Summer Issue of Wild Tees Magazine. Become a member and you will receive your issue of Wild Tees Magazine and much more. Hit that ‘Join’ button at the top of the page!