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Public urged to report water vole sightings
Water voles were once a common site along UK riverbanks and waterways.
Annual National Water Vole Monitoring Programme returns

A conservation charity is calling on the British public to help survey endangered water voles.

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) has made the plea as part of its annual National Water Vole Monitoring Programme (NWVMP). Now in its fourth year, the programme was launched in response to a severe decline in water vole populations.

Emily Thomas, key species, monitoring and data officer at PTES, said that volunteers are crucial to helping the charity collect robust data about the state of water voles across the UK.

“We use the data gathered to monitor population trends year on year, which in turn help guide our conservation efforts and inform us where action is needed most,” she said.

Water voles were once a common site along UK riverbanks and waterways. But thanks to habitat loss, river pollution and American mink, the species has seen a dramatic fall in numbers.

More than 200 volunteers have taken part in the NWVMP since its launch in 2015. Last year, participants collected data from 222 sites across England, Scotland and Wales, of which 82 showed signs of water voles.

This year, volunteers will be asked to survey one of nearly 900 sites across the UK, recording all sightings and signs of the species along a 500m length of a riverbank. The recording only needs to take place once during the course of the programme (15 April-15 June) and no prior experience is required.

To find out more about the programme and how you can get involved, visit ptes.org/get-involved/surveys/countryside-2/national-water-vole-monitoring-programme/ 

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
British sheep meat to be exported to India in new agreement

The UK government has secured a new export deal of sheep meat to India.

In 2017, UK sheep meat exports were worth £386 million. This new agreement is predicted to increase this value by £6 million over the next five years.

With a range of meat cuts due to be exported, the deal is seen by international trade secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, as “another vote of confidence in our world-leading food and drink”.