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Stoat Snippet 46

10 August 2018

Welcome to the forty-sixth 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

As you will probably have seen or heard in the news last week, Macca, a special stoat detection dog has joined the project team to systematically search the high-risk islands around Orkney Mainland for signs of stoats. After a week acclimatising to Orkney and the new smells they will encounter here, Macca and his handler Ange began work in earnest on Monday on Shapinsay.

They checked three farms yesterday and are planning to do three more today. Ange and Macca were also at the agricultural show meeting folk.

Remember we are hosting an event tomorrow at Mill Dam nature reserve where you can come along and meet them if you haven’t yet (or even if you have). Drop by any time between 12.30 and 2.30 pm and there will also be working demonstrations at 1 pm and 2 pm.

We are also still working hard to identify landowners to get land access permissions organised, both for the searches and traps in the future.

Amy is in Hoy today trying to get land access permissions for the largest landowners, but still has quite a few gaps, so please get in touch.

We are also eager for folk who own land on Wyre to get in touch as soon as possible.

In fact, we’re asking all landowners that we haven’t spoken to so far, even if that land is only your garden, to get in touch with us by emailing

We’ll reply as soon as we can, although we are prioritising the identified ‘high-risk’ islands within stoat swimming distance of Mainland – Hoy, Rousay, Shapinsay, Flotta, Wyre, Graemsay etc – that Macca and Ange need to check first, so it might take a while.

THANKS to everyone who has already been in touch. Please encourage others – your friends, family and neighbours – to drop us an email too. Thanks!

The extended trapping trial traps are now all closed for maintenance and will be reopened in September for the autumn phase of the trial. Between now and the start of the autumn phase, Carmen and Rebecca will be carrying out trap maintenance and checks and they will be processing the data from the summer part of the trial too.

We still have just a few of the original traps left to bring in and will be bringing in the rest of the cameras and monitoring tubes soon too.

Orkney Mainland Predator Invasion Biosecurity Project

Our contractors have completed their final round of checks. We should have the full report imminently. Rebecca, Carmen, Heather and the new SNH trapper will take over responsibility for the checks of these traps from August.

Incursion responses

Shapinsay: Carmen, Rebecca and Bea will all be at the Shapinsay tomorrow and Carmen will check the traps while they are on the island. A big thanks to all the landowners who have made Ange and Macca feel so welcome, so far. If you’ve not had the chance to meet them yet, please pop by Mill Dam nature reserve tomorrow any time between 12.30 and 2.30 pm.

Hoy: Heather is back on Monday and will be getting back out to Hoy to finish the latest trap checks.

In the meantime, we are making progress getting access permissions but we’d really appreciate your help to finish this off in the next few weeks.

If you own land in South Walls and Hoy, even if it is just your garden, and you haven’t heard from us, please get in touch by email.

And a big thanks to everyone who has given their support so far.

Answering your concerns…

Remember, if you have any comments or concerns please contact or, 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 01856 886163, by emailing 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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