In July 2021, West London’s Ealing Wildlife Group received their first mischief of captive bred harvest mice, a threatened UK species that had been locally extinct in Ealing for decades. EWG’s goal: Rewild these super tiny mice, indicators of their ecosystem’s health.
This Leave Curious video picks up their story in the summer of 2023, when volunteers released handfuls of harvest mice into “absolutely prime habitat.” From veterinarian and EWG founder Sean McCormack:
“They like the messy margins, so you’ve got a bramble patch meeting grassland, meeting all these umbellifers, cow parsley, hogweeds, the seeds they love, when later in the autumn. They’ll feed on the blackberries, they’ll feed on all the insects. They’ve got the canal on the far side and a big nettle patch. It’s just basically undisturbed ground that isn’t very highly managed, and they will absolutely thrive here.”
To date, EWG has released over 1,000 harvest mice into the area, a rewilding win that repopulates an incredibly important part of the habitat’s food chain. “If numbers are thriving,” Rob from Leave Curious explains, “you can bet that the habitat is rich, and it’s supporting insects, birds, bats, and their predators—a whole range of biodiversity.”
Plus, a fun fact: Harvest mice have semi-prehensile tails that help them grasp onto things like grass and sticks as they climb and balance.
Then watch these related videos on TKSST:
• What Is Rewilding?
• How can nature be used as a tool to restore ecosystems?
• “I Built a Wildlife Pond – here’s what happened.”
• Why do wild hamsters thrive in Vienna’s graveyards?
• Western jackdaws pluck fur from wild deer in Richmond Park, London