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Monday, November 09, 2009

Finally some good news for Ratty

Whilst driving to work this morning I heard a story about a study organised by British Waterways of the UK's waterways.

The study recorded 89 sightings of the Water Vole, twice as many as in 2008. The number of water voles had crashed by 90% in recent years as a result of habitat loss and being preyed upon. Most of the sightings were recorded on the Kennet and Avon Canal, which runs between Reading and Bristol.

According to Mark Robinson, British Waterways' national ecology manager:

The canals are like linear habitat corridors.

As well as water, we also have towpaths with grasslands and boundary hedges.

These corridors are also excellent for species like bumblebees, butterflies, lots of flowering plants.

This year's survey is the sixth annual assessment conducted by British Waterways, but it has been the first year that people have been able to submit their findings online.

This is the first year that we have made the survey completely internet-based, as a result, we have had a lot more entries than in the previous years.

In the past, we would have between 6,000 and 7,000 individual records of species sent to us. This year, we have had in excess of 42,000 records.

But with such a massive increase, we do have to bear in mind that we have received more sightings of species, including water voles.

However, the benefit is that it tells us where we have got the voles. One of the key points to the survey is that we find out where we have got rare or endangered species.

Unsurprisingly the most commonly seen species was the Mallard.

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