A WILDLIFE charity has said it needs more North-East data for its annual survey.

The People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) launched its National Water Vole Monitoring Programme in 2015 and, four years on, it is calling for volunteers to take part in its annual survey so that more data can be gathered for the region.

Between April 15 and June 15, locals are being asked to survey one of PTES’s 850 pre-selected sites.

New sites can also be registered by surveying a 500m length of riverbank and recording the results online.

Last year, 249 sites were surveyed in Britain with 152 in England, 92 in Scotland and 5 in Wales.

Out of these sites, 105 showed signs of water voles which PTES said is encouraging but there are gaps in survey areas where more data is needed.

PTES said, according to previous results, water voles are extremely endangered having experienced the most rapid and serious decline of any British wild mammal in the last century.

It said there are various factors behind their decline, from loss and fragmentation of their natural habitat, such as streams, rivers and fresh waterways, and agricultural intensification, to pollution of watercourses and predation by non-native American mink.

The trust added that the impact of mink has been particularly devastating - between 1989 and 1998 the water vole population crashed by almost 90 per cent.

Emily Thomas, Key Species Data and Monitoring Officer at PTES, explains: “Water voles used to be found in almost every waterway in England, Scotland and Wales, but sadly now their numbers are declining dramatically.

"These adorable mammals need all the help they can get, so we hope as many people as possible, in all corners of Britain, sign up to survey a site this spring.

"We use the data gathered to monitor population trends year on year, which in turn helps to guide our conservation work and inform us where action is needed most.”

Volunteers who wish to take part can register online and enter their postcode to find the closest survey site or register a suitable site near where they live.

More information can be found online at ptes.org/watervoles