In conjunction with the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust our club has been assisting in controlling the water vole's main predator, the American Mink.
Water voles, once a common sight on our lakes, are the fastest declining native mammal in Britain. In the last 3 decades mink predation has been a significant factor in their decline.
In Warwickshire, until now, water voles are only known to have survived at 2 sites - Coventry City Centre and Wolvey (although not on our lakes). However, much of the county has not yet been fully surveyed.
We initially deployed mink rafts on all lakes and on our beat of the River Swift. These rafts are used to identify the presence of mink in the area.
Mink Detection Platform
A basket filled with clay is inserted in the tunnel of the raft. Mink exploring the raft will leave footprints in the clay. Upon identification the basket is replaced with a trap.
To date we have trapped a number of mink on 'Mallard' at Copston Magna and at Wolvey. MInk have been seen occasionally on the River Swift but not caught. A footprint left on a raft on the River Swift is believed to be that of an otter.
A site survey in 2007 by a representative of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust confirmed that we do have a small colony of water voles at the eastern end of 'Mallard'.