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Predator eradication to cost a further £8 million


The project to eradicate stoats on Orkney has already cost around £8m

A project to eradicate stoats from Orkney could take another five years and cost a further £8m. The Orkney Native Wildlife Project began trapping stoats in 2019 and has so far removed more than 5,000. The animals pose a major threat to bird eggs and young as well as the native Orkney vole. Stoats were first reported on Orkney in 2010.

With 7,000 traps laid across Orkney, this is one of the largest-ever invasive predator eradications on inhabited islands.

The project has already cost about £8m, but those behind it claim the same amount will be required to finish the job, with three years of eradication and two years of further monitoring.

Dr Elizabeth Bell, managing director of Wildlife Management International, told ST: “Invasive species eradications on islands present their own unique challenges. It takes a tremendous amount of planning to make each eradication as safe, effective and humane as possible. Invasive species are one of the top five threats to wildlife globally and invasive mammals have driven birds, reptiles and invertebrates to extinction.” Meanwhile, in Dumfries, a man has been fined £9,700 for killing one the UK’s native mustelids, the pine martin. David Excell pleaded guilty to deliberately trapping and killing the creature and has subsequently had his firearms licence revoked.

This story first appeared in Shooting Times, Britain’s oldest and best-selling shooting magazine. Published every Wednesday, the 141-year-old title has long been at the coalface of the countryside, breaking the stories that matter to you. Subscribe here.