THE MALVERN Hills Conservators have welcomed evidence that shows the hills are still home to Europe’s smallest mammal – the harvest mouse.
Volunteers carrying out work to remove bracken and shrubs recently discovered woven nests on the southern side of the area.
The clearance work allows tall stalks of grass to grow which is where the cricket ball sized nests were attached around a metre off the ground.
The Conservators believe the population of the creatures has declined over the years and have consequently prioritised management of areas where they are believed to reside.
The Mammal Society is also urging as volunteers to join a nationwide survey to search for the mice nests and help chart their numbers in different areas.
Johnny Birbs, society chairman, said: “It’s amazing that we know so little about these gorgeous, tiny mammals, and I’m very excited by this new evidence that they are present on the Malvern Hills.
“I shall certainly be signing up to help with the national survey in the hope that we can learn more about their status and distribution.”
The Conservators have signed up to the society’s Mini Mammal Monitoring project which includes searching for signs of vole and harvest mice on the hills.
Volunteers will carry out the task annually and carry out work to improve habitats for the creatures.
Nicky Quinn, Conservators warden, said: “We are very excited to find evidence of harvest mice on the Hills, and hopefully we will find more signs of them during our surveys this November.
“The area that the nest was found in has been managed for many years by our Conservation Volunteer Group, and it is great for them and the staff to see all that hard work paying off.”
Visit www.mammal.org.uk/harvestmouse_survey for information on how to join the survey and call Beck Baker on 01684 892002 for information on volunteering for the Conservators.