#VoteVoles and help save one of the UK’s rarest animals

Tuesday 24th October 2017

Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT) is appealing for your help to save one of Britain’s most endangered mammals - the water vole.

The trust is asking people to #VoteVoles so they can win money from the Aviva Community Fund 2017.

 From October 24 until November 21, 2017, GWT need votes from the general public to help them to secure up to £25,000 for their Saving The Wentloog Water Voles Project. GWT want to use the money to help water voles on the Wentloog Levels - a secretive landscape criss-crossed with drainage ditches, plants and animals - between Cardiff and Newport.

Water voles are a native species and until the 1950s, they flourished in Wales. Sadly, numbers have been dramatically declining, as they were impacted by habitat loss and preyed on by a non-native species, the American mink. This combination has meant up to 90 per cent of the UK's water vole population, have become extinct during the past few decades.

In 2012, GWT successfully re-introduced water voles back onto their Magor Marsh nature reserve, on the Gwent Levels.
Normally the charity say they would expect water voles to travel naturally to colonise nearby areas. However, they believe the mouth of the River Usk could be preventing water voles moving across from either side of the Gwent Levels.
And while GWT do not plan on using the Aviva funding to build a bridge, the cash would allow them to do vital survey and monitoring work with local people, to discover more about the Wentloog Levels and water vole populations.

GWT’s Project Development Officer Alice Rees said: “We want people to get involved in our Saving The Wentloog Water Voles Project, but we can only carry out this vital work to save water voles, if we get enough votes from the general public.
“Winning the Aviva Community Funding would be fantastic and would allow us to expand our water vole project and get more people, landowners, children and schools involved, on the ground, surveying the Wentloog Levels for water voles.
“The money would enable us to work with communities and in doing so together, ultimately, help to save one of the most endangered mammals in Britain.
“On behalf of the water voles, please can you #VoteVoles and spread the message far and wide!”

You can support GWT’s Saving The Wentloog Water Voles project by voting  here

Remember, you have until November 21, to #VoteVoles and you can vote up to ten times per email address. 

So, if you have multiple email addresses, you can #VoteVoles up to ten times, on each of these individual email addresses too.

And as well as voting, GWT are asking people to share their Aviva Community Funding voting link via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #VoteVoles 

GWT aim to raise wider awareness of water voles, which despite being the inspiration for the character Ratty, in the much-loved children’s book by Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows, are actually more guinea pig like in size and appearance.

GWT says that if successful in their Aviva Community Funding bid, the research work they are planning to use the money for, could result in increased numbers of water voles on the Wentloog Levels.

GWT’s water vole reintroduction at Magor Marsh, on the Gwent Levels, has been a real success story. Monitoring suggests numbers have more than doubled since the first 200, were released at Magor Marsh nature reserve in 2012.
Water voles can now be frequently seen and heard at the reserve - listen for a distinctive ‘plopping’ sound as they enter reens to swim and feed. While they do not hibernate, water voles are more active in the warmer months of spring and summer.
Water voles grow up to nine inches in length. They eat rush shoots and need to consume around 80 per cent of their body weight every day, so it is crucial there is plenty of good vegetation where they are living, for them to eat.
You can find out more about GWT’s water vole conservation work here:
 

The Aviva Community Fund is an initiative that lends a helping hand to local communities by offering
support and funding for inspirational local causes. For more information visit