Put Out More Voles

The Daily Telegraph has run a story about restoration of the water vole in the English countryside. It begins with a quote from Waugh:

“Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole.” So wrote William Boot, hapless reporter of Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop. Sadly, the riverbanks of England have heard rather fewer feathery footsteps in recent years. The arrival of American mink, inclined to quest rather too aggressively after water voles in search of a quick meal, has depressed their numbers painfully.

The internet version of the article is accompanied by a photo of this celebrated creature, looking much like a small muskrat. Whether the setting of the photo is a plashy fen is perhaps debatable.

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