Welcome to the forty-first 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

Work continues to ensure we are prepared to start the full project if we get the go ahead. This primarily means trying to identify landowners and get land access permissions organised. To begin with, we are focussing on identified ‘high-risk’ islands within stoat swimming distance of Mainland – Hoy, Rousay, Shapinsay, Flotta, Wyre, Graemsay etc – because before the project can begin we need to confirm the presence or absence of stoats on these islands.

Amy is away on a “busman’s holiday” this week to look at the positive impacts of a successful island restoration that’s been done on the Shiant Isles to the east of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. She will be back out meeting more landowners on her return and will hopefully also have a few nice photos to share from her “holiday”.

A huge thank you to everyone who has been supportive so far in giving permission to access their land and especially to everyone who has helped us identify who owns what.

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

Rebecca and Carmen are half way through the next round of checking the traps that have been reopened as part of the extended trapping trial. Another stoat was caught in the traps checked so far. This one was caught using beef bait and was in a double set trap (ie where there are two traps in one housing). In the last round of checks, a total of five stoats were caught and these were mainly in the double set traps too. We want to once again say a big thanks to all the landowners who have helped with the trials.

We are continuing to bring in the remaining traps that aren’t part of the extended trial. The traps are very heavy so it is hard work for the team although you can’t tell it from the smile on Rebecca’s face.

  

 

The new SNH Graduate Placement starts in a couple of weeks and we will introduce her when she does. She will be assisting with all aspects of the project but will now probably take the lead on the incursion responses. The interviews for the SNH trapper vacancy will also take place in mid-July. The trapper will mainly be helping with the incursion responses and strengthening the biosecurity network.

 

Orkney Mainland Predator Invasion Biosecurity Project

We are still waiting for the June trap check data. Then our contractors will be doing their final round of checks in July before handing responsibility for these traps back to the project team.

 

Incursion responses

Shapinsay: Carmen and Rebecca will be back checking the Shapinsay traps and cameras tomorrow. To date, we have caught no stoats and have no evidence of any from the cameras. However, another sighting has been reported in a similar area to the two that were previously reported.

Hoy: We’ve still had no evidence of stoats and no stoats have been caught in the traps either. But we are making good progress getting access permissions for the next stage in the incursion response which will involve using other methods to seek out signs of stoats. If you own land in South Walls and Hoy, even if it is just your garden, please get in touch. And a big thanks to everyone who has given their support so far.

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.

 

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

 

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