Orkney: killing stoats to protect other species considered more valuable

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Stoat

The stoat was first sighted on Orkney in 2010. It is non-native to the island and is deemed a threat to the islands’ teeming native wildlife. This is another non-native, invasive species problem of which the biggest is feral cats on the Australian continent.

Stoat on Orkney. Scottish National Heritage are concerned that they will damage tourism by killing marine bird species and other species native to the islands.
Stoat on Orkney. Scottish National Heritage are concerned that they will damage tourism by killing marine bird species and other species native to the islands.

No doubt, it is humans who have created the invasive nature of this species in Orkney. We’re not told exactly how the animal was brought to the island but no doubt it was, by people. As it is a threat to the native species of Orkney including voles, arctic terns, red-throated divers and ground-nesting species such as the short-eared owls and hen harriers, it has to be eradicated. It is costing £7million.

To achieve the extermination of the stoat on the Orkney Islands, conservationists and naturalists decided to trap it but the shooters and hunters wanted to get their own back on the conservationists because they are constantly criticised online and in news media. This was their chance to turn the tables. They argue that the traps are illegal and infringe the 2018 Spring Traps Approval (Scotland) Amendment Order.

The people who put the traps down, a partnership between RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the EU. It’s being run by about 30 staff setting more than 20,000 traps.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association – SGA (the hunters and shooters are referred to above) reported the matter to the police who confirmed that they had received a report including photographs of a potential misuse of traps.

“[They want to] wipe out all of the stoats on Orkney”

SGA

In response, James Reynolds of RSPB Scotland said that they are fully compliant.

Comment: the root cause of the problem is people and it is people who have to kill one animal to save another, and in doing so are playing God. It appears to me that humans are scrabbling around, particularly on islands where native species can become more vulnerable, to try and defend the status quo regarding wild species. Humans are trying to undo the damage that they have done and they can only achieve that by killing. A sad state of affairs.