On 18th June 2021 a raft to detect if mink are living around Radwell lake was launched onto the water.
RevIvel members have been trained by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust in how to monitor for the presence of water voles; sedges nibbled at a 45 degree angle, evidence of feeding stations and “tic tac”-shaped droppings are the “give-away” signs. It is inconclusive whether water voles are present in the upper Ivel. However in order to give them a chance, we must first ensure there are no mink in the area
The raft was kindly donated by Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and Josh Kalms kindly spent some time ensuring it was in the right place.
The raft encourages mink to leave evidence of their presence in the form of footprints. The raft uses a standardised mixture of clay and sand to record the tracks over a period of 1-2 weeks.
American mink – escapees or released by animal rights activists – have caused a complete population crash in water vole numbers. The snout of an American mink is just big enough to fit down a water vole burrow and they have been almost wiped out by this voracious predator. Therefore a mink monitoring raft has been tethered in The Mill Pond which is checked regularly by RevIvel volunteers. Mink are curious creatures and would investigate the raft, leaving distinct footprints in the clay. So far, no evidence has been found.
Water voles are a keystone species – i.e. a species which has a disproportionately large effect in its natural environment relative to its abundance. Additionally, a charismatic and intrinsic part of our childhoods (think Ratty in Wind in the Willows). Therefore RevIvel is keen to help this characterful animal re-establish itself along the banks of the upper Ivel.