DOG owners are being urged to keep their pets away from a special watercourse which is home to rare water voles. Friends of Cecilly Brook and Hales Hall Pool are urging dog-walkers to keep their pets under close control while walking near Cecilly Brook. However, a poster campaign asking people to keep dogs away from the water has met with disapproval from some quarters, with signs removed from the reserve – posts and all.
Cecilly Brook Local Nature Reserve in Cheadle is one of the most important sites in Staffordshire for water voles.
But pet owners allowing their dogs to splash in the brook are putting the shy creatures in jeopardy.
Anne Beardmore, is secretary of the Friends of Cecilly Brook and Hales Hall Pool. She said: “Many dog owners regard their dog’s activity in or near the water as harmless.
“They may be unaware that their dog’s splashing and barking may be one of the very many intrusions that could cause a population of water voles to collapse under the pressure.
“Any sudden noise or intrusion can disturb water voles.
“Too much disturbance may mean the water voles will not be able to breed successfully or may cause a colony to move on.
“We are lucky to still have water voles at Cecilly Brook although the population has declined in recent years.
“We are desperately trying to hold on to our water voles.
“Although we like dogs, water voles can be disturbed by them. The Friends of Cecilly Brook and Hales Hall Pool are asking that people do not let their dogs go into the brook.
“Signs were put up around the site but unfortunately many at the south end of the site were removed posts and all!”
Nationally water voles have declined by 93 per cent and are one of the UK’s most threatened animals.
As part of on-going work for the conservation of the two sites, the Friends of Cecilly Brook and Hales Hall Pool are supporting environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy in this year’s Great British Spring Clean.
The group are organising a litter pick around Cecilly Brook and Hales Hall Pool on Sunday, April 28 meeting at South Moorlands Leisure Centre main car park at 2pm.
Anyone wishing to volunteer will be most welcome to attend.
Naturalist Kevin Reynolds was to give a talk on bats for the group, but was taken ill and the event had to be postponed until Thursday, May 16.
Anne said: “Thanks to all the people who came to support. We hope you can all attend the rearranged talk and anyone else who can come along is welcome.”
The talk will be at Thorley Drive Sports Pavilion Cheadle from 7pm and admission is free.
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