Water vole sanctuary created in Bridport

A water vole swimming
Image caption Across the country the population of water voles has dropped from 1.2m to 400,000 in 10 years

A water vole sanctuary is being built on a Dorset river.

A pond is being restored and an island created on the River Brit at Bridport by the Environment Agency to give the endangered mammals a refuge.

The Environment Agency said the protected animal was "fast disappearing" due to habitat loss and predators.

The water vole sanctuary at Allington Pond is expected to take around a week to complete.

The agency said the work would provide a valuable habitat for the water voles to take cover.

Once a common sight in the county, the species is now only found in a "tiny fraction" of rivers and streams, the agency said.

The UK's water vole population has dropped 90% since the late 1980s, making it the UK's fastest declining mammal.

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