Water voles return to Unity following 3 years in Devon!

We are very pleased to announce that a group of 30 water voles has been released back into a newly created habitat at Unity following a successful conservation exercise spanning the last 3 years.

Back in 2021 a small population of water voles was discovered in the network of drains within the Unity Connect zone. The construction of new infrastructure required the rerouting of these drains, so environment and design consultancy FPCR were tasked with safeguarding the future of our water voles.

FPCR secured a licence to capture the water vole population within the ditches that would be affected by new development and also any water vole habitat that would be isolated by the works.  The entire population of 12 water voles were caught by trained ecologists and were transported to a specialist facility in Devon.

During their stay in Devon, a new habitat was created at Unity, specifically to increase the habitat quality and the area available for the water voles.  Whilst this new habitat developed, the water voles were paired and bred in captivity and the subsequent generation has recently been released back into the new habitat.

The new habitat has capacity to support 60 water voles and the population is expected to considerably expand throughout the summer of 2024.  The new areas are connected to the network of realigned drains which would be expected to be recolonised in the coming years, providing a more robust local population.

Construction Director David Bend said: “In the UK water voles are significantly declining due to a number of factors such as habitat loss and degradation . Thanks to the fantastic work by FPCR, our program has provided resilience and enhancement to the local water vole population here at Unity and provides a valuable contribution to the conservation of this protected species. We look forward to monitoring their progress in the years ahead.”