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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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Vets save premature penguin chick

News Story 1
 Vets have saved a tiny Humboldt penguin chick after her egg was accidentally broken by her parents. Keepers at ZSL London Zoo were shocked to find the chick, named Rainbow, still alive and rushed her straight to the Zoo’s on-site veterinary clinic.

It was a little way to go until the chick should have hatched, so the process was touch and go. Vets removed bits of shell from around the chick with tweezers until she could be lifted out and placed in a makeshift nest.

Rainbow is now in a custom-built incubation room where she spends her days cuddled up to a toy penguin. Keepers will hand-fed Rainbow for the next 10 weeks until she is healthy enough to move to the penguin nursery.  

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BVA infographic to help shoppers understand farm assurance schemes

An infographic to help members of the public understand farm assurance schemes has been produced by the BVA. The infographic outlines BVA’s priorities for animal welfare and shows whether or not the schemes address these priorities in their standards.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “The infographic is not intended to be a league table but to allow people to understand what aspects of animal health and welfare are addressed by assurance schemes so that they can decide which scheme best aligns with their own individual preferences and priorities."