Volunteers are needed in Hillingdon and Ealing to help London Wildlife Trust investigate how small mammals, such as mice, shrew and vole are getting on in the boroughs.

The trust’s Vole Patrol project aims to get a clearer picture of how small woodland mammals are doing in west London, and raise the profile of these special little animals.

Volunteers on 'vole patrol' do not need to have any previous knowledge or experience because they will be trained in specialist small mammal monitoring techniques.

They will then be ready to help survey and monitor populations of mice (wood mouse and yellow-necked mouse), shrew (common shrew and pygmy shrew) and vole (bank vole) at four woodland habitats in Hillingdon, as well four others in west London.

Huma Pearce, Vole Patrol project officer for London Wildlife Trust, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to be involved in recording and raising awareness of these important woodland species.

Huma Pearce with mammal boxes

“You needn’t have any experience to volunteer and, by doing so, you will pick up a range of mammal survey and conservation skills from experts here at London Wildlife Trust.

“Please get in touch if you would like to join our Vole Patrol team.”

Vole Patrol is all thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund

None of these species are currently listed as conservation priorities, although shrews are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

However, urban development is putting increasing pressure on their habitats. Other factors, such as predation from domestic pets, may also impact on their numbers.

Installing a footprint tunnel for the small mammals

Anecdotal evidence suggests these tiny, largely nocturnal creatures may be in decline, which in turn could have knock-on effects for predator species such as stoat, weasel, owls and other birds of prey.

Vole Patrol, launched last autumn, is being funded with a grant of £97,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), made possible by National Lottery players.

Vole Patrol will survey for small mammals at the following sites:

  • Denham Lock Wood / Hillingdon
  • Gutteridge Wood / Hillingdon
  • Ten Acre Wood / Hillingdon
  • Ruislip Woods / Hillingdon
  • Gunnersbury Triangle / Ealing/Hounslow
  • Perivale Wood / Ealing
  • Tentelow Wood / Ealing
  • Long Wood / Ealing

If you would be interested in volunteering with this project and surveying sites in Hounslow, Hillingdon and Ealing, please contact Huma Pearce on hpearce@wildlondon.org.uk or 020 8755 2339.