As sightings increase, so do concerns and NatureScot initiate various trapping attempts with the help of volunteers. Despite some success in South Ronaldsay, not all stoats in Orkney are trapped and they subsequently spread.
NatureScot and RSPB Scotland form a partnership to seek the funding needed for a project to prevent the devastating effects of the burgeoning stoat population on Orkney’s native wildlife. A Technical Advisory Group is created with global expertise including in eradications, gamekeeping and stoats.
The community consultation shows overwhelming support for Orkney’s native wildlife:
Results show more stoats are caught in traps in moorland and coastal areas, the trap boxes with two entrances are better and eggs are the most effective bait in spring.
In 2022, stoat numbers should be reduced enough to move to the mop-up phase of the eradication. The mop-up phase is when the last remaining stoats still need to be found before the eradication is a success. Community activities, wildlife monitoring and biosecurity continue.
2024 marks the end of the project. Education, monitoring and community activities are completed, stoats are eradicated from Orkney and the legacy phase, including ongoing biosecurity to prevent stoats returning, begins.
There is an active long-term biosecurity plan in place to prevent re-invasion by stoats this includes continued reporting of potential sightings and the ability to respond to potential incursions.
Wildlife monitoring continues to ensure the health and status of Orkney's incredible native wildlife is known and it can be protected from future threats.