A GLASGOW community group came to the rescue of an endangered species unique to the East End while taking part in a tree-planting event.

Friends of Springboig and Barlanark Greenspaces (FSBG) planted trees and wildflowers in Sandaig Park in their first in-person activity since forming in lockdown.

Treasurer Shona Johnston said: “We are a group of people who are passionate about our local areas and making them areas that the community can be proud of.

“Our group listens to local residents' views regarding any improvements they may feel the areas may need which will improve their health and wellbeing and community spirit.”

Glasgow Times: Photo credit: Robyn LewisPhoto credit: Robyn Lewis

During the event, they discovered an injured water vole and alerted Catherine Scott, a Biodiversity Officer from Glasgow City Council.

Ms Scott said: “Sandaig Park is a great place to see water voles and you can often see them out and about, but this animal was above ground for much longer than usual.

“I could get close enough to see that although it looked a healthy size it had damage to one eye and was definitely not behaving normally.”

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Ms Scott was concerned for the vole, which has an exclusive population to the area.

She said: “A large focus of my work is with water voles, as the North East of Glasgow is home to a unique urban population of this protected species.

“Water voles living in grassland is very unusual behaviour in the UK and Sandaig Park has a population of these ‘grassland’ water voles.”

Glasgow Times: Photo credit: Robyn LewisPhoto credit: Robyn Lewis

FSBG were joined by volunteers from environmental groups Seven Lochs Project and The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), who helped to ensure the water vole was looked after.

Ms Scott added: “If you find injured wildlife you should always seek expert advice. In this instance, I phoned Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust, who although temporarily closed at the time, were still available to provide advice.

“It is important to consider both the safety of the animal and your own safety. In this instance, the ever-resourceful TCV were able to transform their plastic tea box into a secure carry case, with essential air holes.”

Glasgow Times: The volunteers at the tree-planting event in SandaigThe volunteers at the tree-planting event in Sandaig

The water vole was placed in the care of an experienced volunteer a Hessilhead, and it is said to be recuperating from the injury.

Ms Scott said: “It is impossible to know exactly what happened but, in this instance, it looks like the water vole probably had an encounter with a natural predator and although injured it managed to escape.

“So this is a very lucky water vole that escaped a predator and was found and rescued.”

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Since the rescue, Ms Johnston is excited about the work the new group will continue to do to revive and improve the local area.

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She said: “Since being formed, we have carried out litter picks in Barlanark and Springboig.

“We have a litter pick coming up on May 21 along the whole length of Hallhill Road and everyone is welcome to join.

“As well as this we have ensured improvements to Budhill playpark and Sandaig Park.

“As we are a new group, not many people know about us, but we hope to change that soon and make Barlanark and Springboig thriving communities again.”

You can find out more about the group here.

For more information on water voles in Glasgow click here.