Welcome to the sixtieth stoat snippet!

These snippets are a short update on the Orkney Native Wildlife Project, which is a partnership between RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Orkney Islands Council, and will also try to address any concerns that folk have raised with the project.

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


Orkney Native Wildlife Project

As you might remember we have been busy pulling the paperwork together so that we can recruit the next set of jobs for the project. The first five roles are all now advertised, so that’s the – Programme Manager, Administrator, Eradication Operations Manager (2 posts), Biosecurity Officer and Communications Manager

The closing date for all these jobs is 26 November and interviews will take place between the 6th and 17th of December.

The other roles are also now advertised. These are for the Trappers (10 posts), Community Engagement Officer, Education Officer and Monitoring Officer who will look after the citizen science and research parts of the project.

The closing date for these roles is 10th of December.

The dog handlers and research assistants will be advertised later next year.

Now the final job adverts are out, we will turn our attention to securing land access permissions once more. So, if you own land in Orkney, even if it’s just your garden, and we haven’t spoken to you, please email us at ONWP.landaccess@gmail.com as soon as you can.



Trapping trial

Although the autumn trapping trial is now finished, we are still collecting in the final few traps and the monitoring equipment like tubes and cameras.

The eleven GoodNature traps and their cameras, however, will be left out and we will continue to monitor interactions with those traps using the cameras. You will remember from Snippet 49 that these traps are not active; we are just investigating if stoats are attracted to them and therefore if they might make a good potential addition to the DOC traps once they are available to use in Scotland next year.  You can see photos of the different trap types below.


Biosecurity trap network

The trap checks in Evie are being started today and we will start the ones near Kirkwall and Rendall tomorrow.

The traps on Graemsay were checked for the first time yesterday and happily no stoats were caught. These traps are designed to prevent stoats spreading to other (currently stoat-free) islands and also to act as an early warning system ie if we catch a stoat, we know they have reached the island. We plan to get a similar network out on Rousay and then Flotta in the coming weeks.

The next round of checks for the Shapinsay traps are due in the next week or so too. We have followed up on the potential sighting passed to us by the Stoats in Orkney Facebook page. It was from an area where we have had previous sightings and where we already have some traps in place.

We are incredibly grateful to everyone who submits potential sightings as stoats could arrive on islands at any time. It is also possible that stoats might move back and forth between islands and the Mainland. Therefore, it is very important to continue to report new potential sightings.


Incursion responses

Hoy: On Tuesday, the team were out checking the traps in South Walls. The weather was beautiful and as Marina wandered along the cliff top, she could see at least eight pups and some adults on the shore below. She managed to take this photo of one of the pups on her phone by zooming in (a lot) but that means it is a bit grainy.

It’s the time of year for seal pups and the team also encountered some when they were rearranging some of the traps in the north of Hoy as part of the biosecurity and incursion response trapping there. They were very careful to maintain their distance from the seals so as not to disturb them or the seal mums, but it made the day much more enjoyable.


Answering your concerns…

Remember, if you have any comments or concerns please contact north@nature.scot or orkney@rspb.org.uk, or by calling RSPB Scotland on 01856 850176 or SNH on the number below.

Once again, don't forget to keep reporting any sightings of stoats, as soon as possible, to SNH by calling 01463 701670, by emailing north@nature.scot or through the ‘Stoats in Orkney’ Facebook page.

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