Welcome to the thirty-third stoat snippet!

These snippets are a short update on progress with both the Orkney Native Wildlife Project and the Orkney Mainland Predator Invasion Biosecurity Project, as well as addressing any concerns that folk have raised with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and RSPB Scotland.

If you are new to these snippets and want to know more about the project, check out this blog.


Orkney Native Wildlife Project

We are continuing to write the HLF funding bid for submission in June. Once again we would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the development of the project, from individuals we chatted to during the consultation, to landowners who assisted with the trapping trial, and from teachers to community groups to Orkney Islands Council.

We would also like to say a HUGE THANKS to Dani Hallam, our SNH Graduate Placement, who has been working on the Orkney Native Wildlife Project. It’s Dani’s last day today. We are very sad to see her go and hope that you will join us in wishing her all the very best for the future.

Dani said: “I have been working on the Orkney Native Wildlife Project as a Graduate Placement. I have really enjoyed visiting different islands as part of the community consultation, meeting some lovely people and hearing their ideas about the project. I am moving on to a role with Natural England based in Newcastle but will really miss seeing all of the amazing Orkney wildlife every day.”

Dani’s departure means that there is a job opportunity though for another SNH graduate placement. We are looking for someone to develop and implement monitoring and surveillance techniques on outer isles. This opportunity is open to anyone who has graduated in the last four years and would be an excellent opportunity to work on an exciting project. You can find more information here: www.snhjobs.scot  Closing date: Midnight on 13th May

Orkney Mainland Predator Invasion Biosecurity Project

Our contractors are due to be up in Orkney next week to do the May checks.


Incursion responses

Shapinsay: I am afraid that we received some bad news on Tuesday – the first report of a stoat on Shapinsay. Thankfully, it was also the first time that we have received a report so promptly after a potential incursion sighting and that means we are in a much better position to launch a response. Working hard on her final day, Dani has been out on Shapinsay and has put out 12 traps – six in the area of each sighting. Although the sightings (by the same person) were only 1 km apart so might be the same stoat. We’ve positioned the current traps on road verges and RSPB Scotland land but will be talking with landowners so we can get more out over the coming weeks.  

We are taking these sightings extremely seriously and really need people to be as vigilant as possible and as quick as possible at reporting any potential sightings. Stoats are more active at this time of year, so please keep an eye out when out and about.


Hoy: Work is continuing to try to determine whether there is one or many stoats present. Due to needing to quickly mobilise a response on Shapinsay, we still have ten traps to check on Hoy. However, so far, no stoats were trapped and we found no evidence of them on our trail cameras either.

Please remember, if you think you’ve seen a stoat on Hoy or South Walls please report it immediately by phone or email.

And we need more help!

We are currently looking for people from Hoy, or anyone who can access Hoy easily, to volunteer to be part of a local team skilled in finding stoat sightings! Suitable volunteers will be trained to use our thermal imaging camera and in other techniques. Do get in touch if you are interested.


New staff: Two new staff are due to start next week and given the news we have had from Shapinsay they will likely be focussing on supporting our incursion responses. We will introduce them in next week’s snippet.


Answering your concerns…

Remember, if you have any comments or concerns please contact north@snh.gov.uk or orkney@rspb.org.uk.

Once again, don't forget to keep reporting any sightings of stoats, as soon as possible, to SNH by calling 01856 886163, by emailing north@snh.gov.uk or through the ‘Stoats in Orkney’ Facebook page.

And to keep up-to-date with the project, please follow our Facebook page