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Thursday 28 January 2016

Largest ever survey of Scottish wildcats commences

Photo:   Cairngorms Wildcat Project

The largest-ever survey of Scottish wildcats is now underway with more than 300 trail cameras live as from today.

The survey focuses on five of the wildcat priority areas of Scotland, including Strathpeffer, Strathbogie, Strathavon, North Strathspey and the Angus Glens. Work will be continuing in Morvern later in the year.

As part of Scottish Wildcat Action, these motion-sensitive cameras will monitor cats living in parts of the Highlands over a 60-day period.

Survey methods are informed by published scientific studies and a practical hands-on approach.

More than 130 volunteers will check the cameras. Data gathered will help inform wildcat protection measures including an extensive neutering campaign to stop feral and pet cats from interbreeding with the endangered wildcats and passing disease

Friday 15 January 2016

Rewilding the Highlands and return of lynx in spotlight in Exeter and Plymouth

Eurasian lynx © Peter Cairns

Rewilding the Highlands – from restored forests to the return of predators such as the lynx – will be in the spotlight in Exeter and Plymouth today (14 January) and tomorrow at topical lectures featuring acclaimed writer George Monbiot and leading conservationist Alan Watson Featherstone, Founder of award-winning charity Trees for Life.

The sold-out events at the University of Exeter today and the University of Plymouth tomorrow will highlight the benefits of rewilding – the restoration of damaged natural ecosystems, and

Saturday 9 January 2016

New era begins for leading volunteering conservation charity in Scotland

Trees for Life Founder Alan Watson Featherstone (left)
 with new Chief Executive Officer Steve Micklewright
at the charity’s main office in Findhorn, Moray

Thirty years after founding award-winning charity Trees for Life, acclaimed conservationist Alan Watson Featherstone this week stepped down as the organisation’s Executive Director to take up a new role as Founder and Visionary, with Steve Micklewright becoming new Chief Executive Officer.

Alan Watson Featherstone said: “This marks the beginning of an exciting new era for Trees for Life. I’m delighted to welcome Steve Micklewright as our new Chief Executive Officer, and I look forward to working closely with him to further expand and develop Trees for Life’s work to help restore the Caledonian Forest. It’s also a time to pay tribute to the excellent work of Trees for Life’s present and

Stranded Scottish orca Identified as member of UK’s only known resident population of killer whales

Lulu found stranded on Tiree
©John Bowler, RSPB Scotland; 
A killer whale found dead, stranded on Tiree on 3 January has been identified as ‘Lulu’, a member of the West Coast Community of orcas. This small and well-known group is Britain and Ireland’s only known resident population of killer whales and is feared to be at risk of extinction. They are unique in this region in that their diet primarily comprises other marine mammals. A second type of killer whales are occasionally seen in these waters, but these feed primarily on fishes and seals and are far more wide-ranging, e.g. between the Hebrides and Iceland.

The identity of the animal was confirmed this week by Dr Andy Foote, an orca specialist and Dr Conor Ryan of Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. Using photos from the Trust’s photo ID catalogue the pair were able to identify Lulu from the distinctive eye and saddle patches which are unique to each individual. Photos taken of the stranded orca by John Bowler, RSPB Scotland Tiree Officer were crucial to allow HWDT to identify the animal.

Dr Conor Ryan, Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust’s Sighting and Stranding Officer commented: “It is particularly sad to know that another one of these killer whales, unique to the British and Irish Isles,
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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.