Welcome to the thirty-ninth stoat snippet!

These snippets are a short update on 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 still recovering from the mammoth effort to submit the funding bid to HLF last week, but are now focussing our efforts on laying the ground work so we are prepared to start the full project if we are successful.

At the moment that means lots of work getting land access permissions organised. Carmen and Rebecca have been meeting Shapinsay landowners again this week to get permissions to access. And having completed work on Graemsay last week, Amy has been in South Walls meeting landowners and is starting to talk to folk on Rousay too. A huge thank you to everyone who has been supportive so far.

If you own land on Hoy, Rousay, Flotta or Wyre, please get in touch, by phone or email.

We are also checking the traps that have been reopened as part of the extended trapping trial. Two stoats were caught this week. They were both caught in the same trap which was in the Hobbister area and was baited with egg. We’d like to once again thank all the landowners that have helped with the trials.

We also had interviews for the SNH Graduate Placement on Monday to replace Dani. We had some exceptional candidates which made it a very difficult choice, but we are looking forward to introducing the successful person in the coming weeks.

We are currently shortlisting for the SNH trapper vacancy too so more news on that in the next weeks too.


Orkney Mainland Predator Invasion Biosecurity Project

The next checks of these traps are underway at the moment.


Incursion responses

Shapinsay: Carmen and Rebecca have also checked the Shapinsay traps. We have caught no stoats.

Hoy: We have completed the latest check of all traps on Hoy but are still processing the images from the camera traps. No stoats were caught. Amy has been meeting landowners to get access permissions for the next stage in the incursion response which will involve using other methods to seek out signs of stoats. She has completed about half of South Walls so a big thanks to everyone who has given their support.

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

We take all 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.


In other news….

Biosecurity training courses to raise awareness and prepare people for preventing incursions to the islands have taken place in Orkney this week.

These are not part of the Orkney Native Wildlife Project, but are part of the legacy activities of a similar successful island restoration project that removed black rats from the Shiant Isles in order to restore them as a secure haven for nesting seabirds. As well as restoring the Shiant Isles the project aimed to build UK expertise in island restoration, particularly biosecurity, to minimise the risk of future invasive species incursions. Training courses have taken place across the UK including these most recent ones in Orkney.


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