A family of 27 water voles that set up home in a sewage farm have been rescued at a cost of £400,000.
The rodents -colonised three disused sludge lagoons and a ditch within the Crossness sewage treatment works in Abbey Wood, southeast London. Because the animals have full legal protection Thames Water had to relocate them if it was to go ahead with plans to increase the sewage capacity at the plant.
The operation is estimated to have cost more than £14,800 per vole. Just capturing them is estimated to have cost £100,000, with 150 traps being set on floating polystyrene rafts and checked every eight hours for six weeks. Another £100,000 was spent on preparing the operation and about £200,000 on creating a hectare of fresh habitat to meet the animals’ needs.
Apples are a traditional favourite of water voles, but failed as a lure for them at Crossnes
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