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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 November, 2004, 06:24 GMT
New bid to save endangered vole
Water vole
The UK's water vole population has declined by 90% in recent years
Water voles, the UK's most threatened mammal, have been thrown a lifeline with the restoration of an East Yorkshire riverbank.

Environment Agency officers will create a pool on West Beck, near Driffield, to help save the species.

Water voles were the inspiration for Ratty in Kenneth Grahame's classic story Wind in the Willows.

The Environment Agency said it hoped the shallow 30 metre-long stretch would also attract wading birds.

Disappearing habitats

The UK's water vole population has declined by 90% in recent years, according to the agency.

Mink and disappearing habitats have taken their toll, but East Yorkshire's surviving rodents are being given a boost.

The agency is spending 1,500 to reconstruct the walls of the West Beck chalk stream and replace light-blocking weeds with bundles of willow twigs to make a more welcoming habitat.

"Our work will restore the stream, which is a site of special scientific interest, to its natural habitat so that it will become a magnet for wildlife once more," said biodiversity officer Richard Jennings.

Traps help voles make come-back
24 Oct 04 |  Suffolk
Wetlands scheme gets cash boost
15 Nov 04 |  Lincolnshire

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