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Rare otter and Ratty the vole spotted in London’s canals and rivers

PUBLISHED: 09:39 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:50 05 October 2010

London's rivers and canals... teeming with wildlife

London's rivers and canals... teeming with wildlife

CANALS and waterways of London are teeming with wildlife and providing homes for rare species such as water voles and even the endangered otter. At least one otter has been spotted in London out of 27 seen along riverbanks up and down the country, according to wildlife researchers in British Waterways’ wildlife survey released yesterday. Three rare water voles were among the wildlife along the River Lea and Regent’s & Grand Union canal

CANALS and waterways of London are teeming with wildlife and providing homes for rare species such as water voles and even the endangered otter.

At least one otter has been spotted in London out of 27 seen along riverbanks up and down the country, according to wildlife researchers.

British Waterways’ wildlife survey released yesterday (Wednesday) recorded 24 moorhens, 27 mallards, 27 coots, 24 herons, 14 kingfishers, 16 damselflies, 15 dragonflies and three rare water voles among other wildlife along the River Lea and London’s Regent’s & Grand Union canal.

Popular areas for spotting dragonflies and damselflies included the Regent’s Canal by Victoria Park in East London.

Mallards, swans and moorhens are the most commonly sighted species on Britain’s waterways, according to the fifth annual survey.

The water vole—best known as Ratty in the children’s favourite Wind in the Willows—were also spotted along riverbanks, including London.

“Spotters taking part in the survey helped show there are valuable habitats supported by canals and rivers,” said British Waterways’ national ecology manager Dr Mark Robinson. “The waterways play a vital role in urban areas providing wildlife corridors’ that help sustain populations of species, including bats and otters.”

Best places to spot dragonflies, damselflies and other wildlife are listed online in British Waterways’ Waterscape website.

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