Stoat Snippet 77

These snippets are an update on the Orkney Native Wildlife Project as well as addressing any concerns that folk have raised. 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

Since the last Stoat Snippet we welcomed three new members to the trapping team. Martyn Bell, James Winter and Charlotte Cooper joined us dedicated to Orkney and preserving its native wildlife, and will be out and about this week with their colleagues. The trapping team have also been progressing land access with some friendly smaller landowners.

We also have a few jobs available which close next week. You can find more details about the Community Engagement Officer (closes June 10) and fixed-term Warehouse Assistants (closes June 13) on the recruitment website.

Education programme

Our Education Officer has been busy preparing activities for schools about the project and native/non native species. She is setting up informal short meetings for both primary and secondary school teachers as an introduction to the project and to better understand their needs. So, we are seeking both primary and secondary teachers to join our teacher working groups (which will meet once a quarter) to help shape and deliver the education aims. 

The first primary school group met in May and were introduced to the project, and Lindsey demonstrated how the traps work within the casing. A secondary teacher meeting is planned for the end of June so do let Lindsey know if you want to join in by 12 June. If you want to take part in either then please do get in touch with lindsey.taylor@rspb.org.uk or phone 07548 155325

Biosecurity trap network

Mainland: Since our last Stoat Snippet two stoats were caught in the trap network.

High-risk islands:  Following a reported sighting of a stoat from a member of the public the Hoy trap network has been expanded and is being checked every two weeks.

The team laid out biosecurity traps on Flotta as it is less than 2km from the mainland. The trapping network will increase our chances of intercepting a stoat arriving on the island before it has a chance to breed. Flotta is one of the high-risk islands as stoats have the potential to swim from the mainland. Three folk placed 20 traps around the coast from close to the oil terminal right around to the base of West Hill. 

If you want to know more please contact biosecurity directly chris.bell@rspb.org.uk 01856 881451 ext 456

It is illegal to tamper with the traps, and we ask that if you should come across any damaged traps please let us know on the contact details below. If the casings are damaged it could risk the mechanism being dangerously exposed to inquisitive children and other animals.

Answering your concerns…

You may have seen allegations by the Scottish Game Keepers Association last week that the traps we are using are illegal. We want to reassure you that the traps used in the project are legal. Sarah Sankey, the project manager, was interviewed on Radio Orkney about it, which can be heard here on the 29 May edition of Radio Orkney.

The first meeting of the newly reconstituted goose management forum went ahead this week and we hope the discussions are positive for all involved and that the larger land-owning farmers separate the land access we need to conserve Orkney wildlife from the geese control issue.

For more details on the goose management forum contact the organisers, Scottish Natural Heritage on 01463 701670 or the Orkney NFUS committee.

In the meantime, we would really appreciate folk who own land and are happy for wildlife monitoring and/or trapping to take place getting in touch. Please email ONWP.landaccess@gmail.com or call us on 01856 881451 as soon as you can.

Don’t forget to keep reporting any sightings of stoats (dead or alive), as soon as possible, by contacting our Biosecurity Officer Chris directly on 01856 881448 or through the ‘Stoats in Orkney’ Facebook page.

Remember, if you have any comments or concerns please contact north@nature.scot or orkney@rspb.org.uk, or telephone Orkney Native Wildlife Project on 01856 881451.

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

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