Welcome to the sixty-fifth 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 and this one too.


Orkney Native Wildlife Project

We’ve been really pleased with the response to our landowner appeal that we put out at the beginning of the month. Finishing off securing landowner permissions will be one of our most important tasks in January.  So if you own land or a house in Orkney, and we haven’t spoken to you, we would be very grateful if you could email us at ONWP.landaccess@gmail.com as soon as you can. Please encourage friends, family, neighbours to get in touch too.

We have been very busy again this week continuing to shortlist candidates for the second round of interviews – the Trapping Team (10 posts), Community Engagement Officer, Education Officer and Monitoring Officer who will look after the citizen science and research parts of the project – from the hundreds of applications we received. The interviews will be in early January and we want to thank everyone who took the time to apply.

The tender for the 10,260 wooden housings boxes is open until early and the document is here. Please share the link with anyone you think might be interested. We will be judging the bids on experience, service quality and price.

As you will remember, we have also submitted the order for the 19,292 DOC 200 traps that we need for the eradication, biosecurity network and potential additional community-run traps too. So we have just about managed to do everything we had to complete before the Christmas break.

Trapping Trial

We still need to collect the final few traps in Wideford and all the remaining monitoring equipment, but the monitoring equipment might take a while due to competing demands for the team’s time.

We’ve received a few more feedback forms from landowners who were involved in the summer and autumn trials, and want to thank everyone for taking the time to fill them in. We are keen to work together in the best way possible so really appreciate any feedback. We will be contacting landowners who were involved in just the winter trial early in the New Year.


Biosecurity trap network

Mainland: Lindsey checked the Rendall and Kirkwall traps this week. She found nothing in the Rendall traps but did some trap maintenance and weight checks while she was out. There were two stoats caught in the Kirkwall traps. Frank from SNH helped checking some of the traps in Evie, but no stoats were caught in those.

High-risk islands: The next checks of the Shapinsay traps will now happen in the New Year as the team have had to prioritise the incursion response trap checks in Hoy and South Walls. But please continue to report any potential sightings as soon as you can as stoats could arrive at any time and could move between the islands and Mainland too. The next round of trap checks for the Graemsay biosecurity traps are also due in January.


Incursion responses

Hoy: The team will be back early next year to do the next check of the Hoy traps.

South Walls: Thankfully the weather hasn’t caused any difficulties this week and so we’ve been able to get the checks done before the holidays. Marina and Heather started the South Walls trap checks yesterday and Marina is there today finishing them off. No stoats have been caught so far, just a few rats.


Answering your concerns…

Remember, if you have any comments or concerns please contact north@nature.scot or orkney@rspb.org.uk, or call 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 701669, 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.