Ealing key wildlife projects have been given a further boost with a grant from the Mayor of London’s Rewild London Fund 2022.
The council, Citizen Zoo and The Selborne Society have been awarded £82,324 to reintroduce beavers, make better homes for harvest mice, and create new wildflower meadows.
Beavers coming back to Ealing
Beavers are set to return in the borough after more than 400 years. The reintroduction is the result of a community-led project by the council, Citizen Zoo, Ealing Wildlife Group, and Friends of Horsenden Hill.
Beavers, the second-largest living rodents after capybaras, boost local biodiversity for animals and plants alike. The dams they build contribute to cleaner water and carbon storage while reducing the threat of flooding and helping to prevent droughts – all of which help tackle the impacts of climate change.
The fund will help to prepare and manage the beavers’ new home, making sure they and other wildlife can flourish.
Small animals with big impact
Harvest mice, tiny animals which are in significant national decline, will be reintroduced at Perivale Wood, Britain’s second oldest nature reserve by The Selborne Society.
Much-needed corridors will be made for them to travel safely to find food and mates, as well as making sure that the harvest mice already living at Horsenden Hill have access to Perivale Wood and railsides to the south.
Harvest mice are the smallest rodents in Europe, often weighing around 6g – that’s less than a 50p coin.
These mice might be small, but they play an important part in maintaining healthy ecosystems and preserving biodiversity. Their diet consists mainly of seeds and fruits, but also insects, snails, spiders and worms, some of which can damage plant seeds, seedlings and leaves, leading to plants dying, which is harmful to agriculture production.
The funding will also support the harvest mice breeding facility at Horsenden Farm and a lab for studying wildlife and involving the community.
More wildflower meadows in Ealing
Ealing will also be getting improvements to some of its existing wildflower meadows, as well as new meadows altogether.
Wildflowers are not only beautiful, but they also provide local wildlife like bees, bugs and butterflies with food and places to rest and shelter. A wildflower meadow the size of around half a football pitch can feed nearly 96,000 honeybees per day.
The funding will also be used for equipment and expertise to maintain the meadows so they can be enjoyed by Ealing residents and wildlife for a long time.
Protecting and enhancing nature
Councillor Deirdre Costigan, deputy leader and cabinet member for climate action commented: “The Mayor of London’s 2022 Rewild London Fund will further our conservation work – to restore and protect wilderness in Ealing, increase biodiversity and the wonderful green spaces in our borough.
“We are very excited that species like beavers and harvest mice can make a comeback to Ealing and cannot wait to welcome our new ‘residents’ and help them flourish.
“In addition, having more wildflowers will help bring nature back to Ealing and our residents, providing them with opportunities to re-engage with it.
“Improving biodiversity is part of our ambitious but necessary target of achieving net zero carbon by 2030. These three initiatives will also help us in building a greener and more environmentally friendly borough for generations to come.”