Orkney stoat project: £500,000 spent, two caught

The Orkney stoat eradication project has reported its results: two stoats caught. It reveals the Scottish Natural Heritage programme to be among the most dismal wastes of taxpayers’ money the Scottish government has yet attempted on wildlife.

Some 52 volunteers were trained and issued with Magnum bodygrip traps with wooden or metal mesh tunnels. No stoats were caught in this type of trap. The project reports says it will “need to revaluate its usefulness for trapping stoats in Orkney, both by volunteers and as part of the wider project”.

The report issued in the autumn continues: “Some of these traps can be quite tricky to set in such a way as to tempt stoats in, and that stoats are generally not an easy animal to trap and are easily put off by human scent and other disturbances.”

One problem the report identifies with the trapping project is the “degree of paperwork” which it says “some volunteers are not prepared for”. It has a solution: “For volunteers who find the level of data management and paperwork involved in trapping to be beyond what they have time for we hope to perhaps provide alternative volunteering opportunities in the future.”

The report maintains that it has not wasted £500,000 of public money. “This 12 month volunteer stoat trapping programme has enabled us to gain valuable information on trapping, data management, volunteer management and alternative volunteering opportunities,” it says.

There is still some money left over. The project will reduce its volunteer trapping programme and “direct our resources to developing and submitting the funding bid for the wider eradication project”.

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