WATER voles relocated from Salisbury are going to help bolster the population of the species.

The water voles had to be moved to a new home near Ringwood due to work being done on the River Park Scheme, which has seen the main construction phase of the work get underway last month.

As water voles are a protected species this meant the trapping and movement had to be done during a six week window between February and March - after they come out of hibernation and before the breeding season starts.

They were trapped by a specialist team and the burrows had to be destroyed to stop them coming back.

Before the burrows were destroyed endoscopes were used to check the burrows for any signs of water voles.

Environment Agency project manager Andy Wallis said that around 15 water voles were found. The area was not a great habitat for them.

But the work being carried out as part of the scheme will improve this. Historically the lower Avon area had lots of water voles but these had been “wiped out” over time largely due to mink, which are now under control.

He added: “This project has been the opportunity to reintroduce water voles back into that area. The water voles from here have gone down there and we’re introducing some captive water voles with them as well.”

This is due to happen at the end of August and beginning of September.

The River Park scheme is a collaboration between the Environment Agency, Wiltshire Council, Salisbury City Council and Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

It will also create two hectares of enhanced riverside habitat for the benefit of wildlife, remove obstructions to allow fish migration to continue upstream and the creation of 13 hectares of public open space, including enhanced foot and cycle.


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