Bringing Back Water Voles
Water Voles (Arvicola amphibius) are one of the UK’s most endearing and charismatic mammals, immortalised in British culture in famous tales such as The Wind and Willows (yes Ratty was indeed a water vole). Water voles hold a special place in British hearts, however are sadly the UK’s fastest declining mammal and without proactive conservation measures they’ll likely be lost forever.
Kingston Upon Thames has a special affinity with water voles. Local residents speak of a time only 30 years ago when these furry critters were teaming in our rivers. The famous Millais painting ‘Ophelia’ depicting the Hogsmill river was originally set to feature a water vole until art critics thought it would be mistaken for a rat.
The last official record of water voles in Kingston was in 2010 and they are now extinct throughout the Hogsmill catchment. Water voles play an important ecological role and bring immense joy to people who encounter these fantastic animals perched on the banks of our rivers for the first time.
We’re raising money for this fantastic project at our WILDKingston event on the 9th of June later this year, where members of the public can sponsor the project and receive a dedicated Guardians of the Water Voles certificate in show of support.
Become a Volunteer
We’re also registering all interested volunteers and will do so at our WILDKingston event as well, to train local people to see through the eyes of water voles to help protect and monitoring them for the future.
So if you fancy getting ‘involed’, then sign-up below!
The project is a collaboration with Thames Water, Greenspace Information of Greater London (GiGL), Kingston University and The Hogsmill Partnership. The project will also benefit from the expertise of the UK’s leading water vole expert Derek Gow!
We’d like to send a big thank you to the Chessington Conservation Fund for the seed funding invested to get this project off of the ground, and thankful for the endorsement from the Royal Borough of Kingston Council and the Environment Agency.
London West End
The Cabin, 20 Queens Drive, Surbiton, KT5 8PN
London East End
Victoria Park, 16 Pennethorne Close, Hackney, KT5 8PN