Harvest mice reintroduced to Ealing nature reserve as part of rewilding

Image: Harvest mouse; photograph by Charlie Marshall

More than 150 mice reintroduced to Perivale Wood

More than 150 harvest mice have been reintroduced to a nature reserve in Ealing as part of a rewilding project. The animals have been absent from Perivale Wood for decades, with the last official sighting in 1979.

Now they are being reintroduced after an absence of four decades by the Ealing Wildlife Group, who bred the mice in captivity, with funding from the Mayor of London and Amazon’s Right Now Climate Fund.

They have already released more than 1,650 harvest mice across the borough. Perivale Wood is the fifth release site.The mice disappeared due to the loss of their natural habitat and their populations have rapidly declined by up to 70% across the UK since the 1970s.

Sections of meadows have been set aside in Perivale Wood to create wildlife corridors for the small mammals. Grass will remain un-grazed to provide nesting material and cover for the mice and a new pond alongside an existing one will create additional reed bed areas, which the animals enjoy.

Nature reserve managers say mice returning is “fantastic”

Richard Goddard, from the Selborne Society, which manages the wood, said the reintroduction of mice was “fantastic”. He added:

“Selborne Society volunteers put in more than 2,000 hours of voluntary work to improve our habitats.

“This has been the perfect way to celebrate National Mammal Week”.

Dr Sean McCormack, vet and Chair of Ealing Wildlife Group said:

“It’s been really fantastic to see wilder habitat types emerge in the past few years through our collaborative work with Ealing Council, meaning species that have previously been pushed to the edge now have the opportunity to return.

“Our Rewilding Ealing initiative has seen not only Britain’s smallest native rodent, the Harvest Mouse reintroduced, but also our largest, the Eurasian Beaver. Both projects have now been helped by the Mayor’s Rewild London fund.

“These projects are not just about rewilding habitat and reintroducing lost species, but also about rewilding people.”