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Water Vole: Credit James Packer (

Water Vole: Credit James Packer (

The near-extinct water vole makes a wildlife comeback

THE water vole, famed since the novel The Wind In The Willows, is among the country’s rarest animals, having come close to being wiped out 15 years ago. But a leading wildlife charity has discovered plenty of evidence the vole is fighting back and thriving in areas of Scotland.

The experts have identified colonies of the elusive semi-aquatic rodents, epitomised for generations of children by the character Ratty (though actually a water vole) in Kenneth Grahame’s enchanting tale, in Glasgow, Stirling and the Highlands.

James Silvey, nature recovery officer with RSPB Scotland, who has carried out a major study on the creatures, said he hoped their numbers would continue to grow. He said: “It is extremely difficult to estimate numbers as their population can vary from season to season. However, this year we have had numerous reports of water voles returning to areas where they haven’t been seen for over 30 years, so in some areas water voles seem to be doing very well.”

Mr Silvey said now is the best time of year to see water voles at first hand as their numbers are at their highest following the end of the breeding season.

For the full article please visit the heraldscotland.

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