Gilllian Murray and Stuart Brabbs had a flying visit to Devon last week to see our water vole breeding program in action. During the course of the visit to the Derek Gow Consultancy, we gained valuable training in animal husbandry and handling the voles which will be essential during the research period of our project. We saw all the Scottish Voles held in captivity and paired them up for breeding. All going well, these voles will produce litters within the next few weeks that will ultimately be our release stock for this summer on the Darley and Slaphouse Burns. The photo below is of one of our water voles being given a health check before introducing it to a mate. All seemed to be in good working order!
During the visit we also looked at Derek’s European Beavers that are held in an enclosure (or rather the impact of these animals on the environment as they are rarely active during daytime and we failed to see any). Typically Derek had answers for our many questions and certainly gave us food for thought. We cannot ignore the increasing interest in Beavers in Scotland and there are organisations in Ayrshire keen to facilitate reintroduction. It is therefore essential that we as a Trust fully understand the implications for fisheries and their management and remain objective. The image below illustrates a beaver dam on a tiny burn. It is important to note the size of the pond behind that could support fish populations if they can gain access from either up or downstream.
All in all this was a very interesting and informative couple of days and our thanks go to Derek and his staff who were very helpful despite our bombardment with questions.