“Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wide World,” said the Rat. “And that’s something that doesn’t matter, either to you or me. I’ve never been there, and I’m never going, nor you either, if you’ve got any sense at all. Don’t ever refer to it again, please. Now then! Here’s our backwater at last, where we’re going to lunch.” (Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows)
The British have decided it’s time to stop messing about (in boats or anywhere else) and give Ratty the water vole some serious legal protection. Not a minute too soon, the Guardian reports:
Water voles are one of the fastest declining of Britain’s mammal species and populations are believed to have crashed nearly 90% in the last 20 years. American minks have wiped them out as they spread up rivers, ditches and dykes, pest controllers have used poison indiscriminately against them and many have not survived attempts to relocate them.
Enjoy your backwater in peace, Ratty.