Volunteers in Nottinghamshire needed to help save endangered water voles

Wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is calling for volunteers to search for sightings and signs of water voles along Nottinghamshire’s riverbank and canals.

PTES needs to build on the survey data gathered since 2015 to create a long-term picture of how water voles are faring – especially after having to cancel last year’s spring survey season.

The charity hopes the positive relationship people developed with nature during lockdown will mean the public are keen to get involved and help look for these endearing creatures, or their signs, this spring.

Henrietta Pringle, key species monitoring and data officer at PTES, said: “Due to lockdown last spring, we were unable to survey water voles, meaning we now have a gap in our dataset.

A native water vole.

"Finding out where water voles are is crucial to their conservation, so now more than ever we need feet on the ground to help us look for these adorable riverside residents to see how they’re faring.”

To take part, individuals, ‘bubbles’ or households are asked to select one of the 850 pre-selected sites close to their home, which can be found online.

If there isn’t a pre-selected site close by, new sites on a local waterway can be registered.

Volunteers are asked to walk along the riverbank looking for sightings of water voles, listening out for the characteristic ‘plop’ as they enter the water, or spotting the signs they leave behind, such as footprints, droppings, latrines or bankside burrows.

To find out more and to take part in the survey – which runs until June 15 – visit www.ptes.org/watervoles.