WATER voles have made a welcome return to Rutland.
The rodent was once a common sight along waterways in the country, but was almost eradicated due to increasing numbers of American mink released from mink farms.
On Monday 160 voles were released at Rutland Water Nature Reserve in Egleton as part of a re-introduction scheme run by Anglian Water and the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.
They arrived in Rutland on Thursday from a breeding programme in Devon where water voles have managed to survive the onslaught.
Reserve manager Tim Appleton said: “The voles are kept in the pens for three days to give them time to adjust to their new surroundings.
“Once they were released the pens were left in position for a further two days to allow the voles to come and go as they pleased.”
Assistant warden Lloyd Park said: “The last mink to be recorded on the reserve was more than two years ago and so we are confident that they will have no impact on the voles.”
This is the second group of voles to be released on to the nature reserve this summer.
There were 80 rodents released in the same area in July which have already starting to breed successfully. Further releases are planned.