Students Are A Voling Success In Hartlepool!

Tue, 2000-12-05 00:00

College students have recently rediscovered the Water Voles that were thought lost from Hartlepool’s becks.

A group of 5 conservation students from East Durham College made the discovery during a Water Vole training session at Greatham Beck Local Nature Reserve in Hartlepool.

This was the first confirmed sighting in over a year and establishes that the nationally rare Water Vole does indeed call Hartlepool its home.

The conservation survey was part of a partnership project between Northumbria Mammal Group, Hartlepool Countryside Wardens and East Durham College; funded by the OPAL Grant fund through the Big Lottery Fund.

The project hopes to investigate mammal distribution across the North East and will culminate in the publication of the North East’s first Mammal Atlas next year.

Jonathan Pounder, Lecturer in Environmental Conservation at East Durham College, explained: “Water Voles were once common across the North East but due to changes in agriculture, pollution and predation from the American Mink they have sadly been lost from much of their traditional range.

“The success of the survey helps to highlight the resilience of Britain’s wildlife, and by simply looking for an animal you can turn up some unexpected results!”

Robert Smith, a nearby resident with a long term interest in the wildlife of the Greatham Beck Local Nature Reserve, added: “This is great news for the many people on the Fens who value the excellent wildlife habitat on their doorstep.

“It is also very rewarding for all the local youngsters and adults who together with the Countryside Wardens have worked hard over the years to maintain this wildlife corridor in such good condition. Welcome back Ratty!”

Thanks to the OPAL Grant the Northumbria Mammal Group is offering a 1 year FREE e-membership (normally £5) to anyone living in the North East in return for a mammal record.

As a member of the Northumbria Mammal Group you will receive a quarterly e-newsletter documenting what’s happening in the world of mammals and keep track of the big cat diaries, access to the Natural History Society of Northumbria Winter Mammal Lectures and the opportunity to join a range of training courses and events across the north east to investigate mammal activity – including badger watches, seal observations, small mammal trapping, lectures, bat walks and survey training courses.