Our regular blog shares the latest news and updates from the Orkney Native Wildlife Project. If you are new to our blog and want to know more about the project visit our website www.onwp.org
Project update during lockdown
As you may have heard on the radio or seen in the paper, we are about to resume some of our trapping operations, which have been paused since 23rd March in line with Scottish Government guidelines.
The recent easing of lockdown restrictions has enabled outdoor work to restart. For us this means we can resume eradication trapping on the Orkney Mainland and the linked isles and efforts to stop any possible spread of stoats to other islands which are currently stoat-free by trapping on coastal edges of Orkney Mainland.
It also means we can restart our monitoring of birds and voles which will enable us to see the effects of our trapping operations over the long term.
However, we have made changes to how we are working. The trappers and monitoring staff will be working individually following strict COVID-19 measures which include using personal protective equipment and social distancing and hygiene measures to keep themselves and members of the public safe.
With the juvenile dispersal phase of the current stoat breeding season starting soon, the first priority is to check and manage existing biosecurity traps along the Orkney Mainland coastlines which continue to be the first barrier to non-native stoats crossing to the outer isles. As we will not be travelling to non-linked islands that are close to the Mainland until travel restrictions lift, we will also be deploying additional traps within the biosecurity network on West Mainland.
Following that we will be checking the existing network of operational traps particularly on South Ronaldsay, Burray and East Mainland together with opening of traps already deployed in East Mainland and then further deployment of the West Mainland network.
We have written to landowners and will provide further updates on this through our Orkney Native Wildlife Project Facebook page and this blog.
The pause in trapping has obviously caused some delay to the project, which is why we were keen to restart as soon as we safely could (from Monday). This is a critical time of year and resuming trapping is essential to safeguarding our native species on which so much wildlife tourism is based, supporting local businesses and the economy from further economic pressure.
Members of the public can report stoat sightings by posting on the Stoats in Orkney Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This will enable the project to further prioritise operations in the coming months. Any concerns about traps or questions about the project can be emailed using the above address.
Biosecurity trapping on non-linked islands
At the moment, we will not be resuming trapping on any of the non-linked islands.
Signs of spring are all around us and some of our project team have been photographing native wildlife they come across while out of their daily walks close to home. The photos in this blog were all taken recently by Mike Partridge. We’d love to see any photos you have taken of Orkney’s native wildlife close to your home while out walking on our Facebook page.
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