MORE than 150 harvest mice have been reintroduced to Perivale Wood Nature Reserve after a 45-year absence.

The project was made possible with funding from the Mayor of London and Amazon’s Right Now Climate Fund.

Members of the Selborne Society, who own Perivale Wood, today (29) joined Ealing Wildlife Group to release the mice.

It is the fifth site in Ealing where harvest mice have been reintroduced as part of the Ealing Wildlife Group’s rewilding project.

Perivale Wood is the UK’s second oldest nature reserve and the last place harvest mice were sighted before becoming locally extinct. It has been managed by the Selborne Society since 1902.

The reserve includes ancient oak woodland and grassland, supporting a diversity of animal and plant life, but harvest mice have been absent for more than four decades.

Habitat loss and fragmentation are likely to be the main cause of their disappearance from the borough.

Habitat loss is estimated to have resulted in the UK harvest mouse population declining by 70% since the 1970s.

At Perivale Wood, parts of the meadows have been set aside to create wildlife corridors for the mice and other small mammals.

The grass will remain ungrazed as a rough meadow, to provide nesting material and cover for harvest mice. A new pond has been dug alongside an existing large pond.

Dr Sean McCormack, vet and chair of Ealing Wildlife Group, said: Our Rewilding Ealing initiative has seen not only the harvest mouse reintroduced, but also the Eurasian Beaver.”