This is great news!

Water voles could return to a south London river
where they once flourished after
volunteers cleaned it up.

The River Wandle (which runs trough Colliers Wood
where we live) was abundant with water voles
until it was officially declared
a sewer in the 1960s.

The London Wildlife Trust cleaned the river after a
study found it could once again be made habitable
for the voles, whose numbers have dwindled.

The trust's Emily Brennan said water voles could
return to the "thriving" river by 2012. The water
vole is Britain's fastest declining mammal,
whose numbers have fallen by 95% over the
past century, Miss Brennan said.

Their "catastrophic" decline was due to their
loss of habitat and attacks by American mink,
she said.
The trust aims to save the voles by
creating and enhancing habitat for
them to move into.

Last month it was given £58,000 by conservation
Natural England to assess whether water
voles could be reintroduced to the Wandle.

Volunteers subsequently cleared rubbish and
invasive plant species from the 14km (8.7 mile)
river, which starts at Croydon and joins
the River Thames at Wandsworth.

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