We don’t need much of an excuse to use a photo feature of cute and cuddly animals, but as reasons go, this one isn’t half bad.
Hundreds of water voles have been released at a country estate on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent to boost the population of the endangered animal.
The aim of the project at the Trentham Estate is to bring the animals back from the brink of extinction in Staffordshire – and a month after being released, the 200 water voles are now settling in nicely to their new home in the lush habitat around the lake.
Home to award-winning gardens, Capability Brown landscaped parkland, mile-long lake and adventure playground, the 725-acre historic Estate has undergone a massive regeneration programme since 2003, which includes steps to increase biodiversity and re-introduce important species.
Wildlife is a vital element of Trentham, which has a long-term commitment to nature conservation.
Extensive woodlands are home to a range of historic trees and rare species, while the Estate also offers a broad range of habitats popular with birds, bug life, otters, deer, amphibians and reptiles.
Now Trentham is home to a thriving water vole colony too.
The animals have declined in numbers partly due to loss of habitat and the introduction of predators such as American mink. In a bid to help re-introduce endangered water voles, Trentham is working alongside ecologist, reintroduction specialist and author, Derek Gow, and the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.
To find out more about the project, visit https://bit.ly/3yVWkWL
For more about visiting Stoke-on-Trent and The Potteries, see www.visitstoke.co.uk
Photos: Trentham Wildlife Photographer: John Ruggiero