Work to remove hedgehogs continues
SCOTTISH Natural Heritage (SNH) says its plans to remove hedgehogs from the Western Isles are ‘on-going’.
The Uist wader research project was started in 2000 in response to declining numbers of the internationally renowned birds in north Uist because of hedgehogs which feed on the bird’s eggs.
To date more than £2,679,000 million has been invested in the programme with 2,441 hedgehogs removed. In 2011, the project started a new four-year research programme into the islands’ breeding wader populations. SNH has developed the techniques required to capture hedgehogs and is now investigating sources of funding for a large scale removal project.
Hedgehogs are non-native and are believed to have been introduced to the islands in the 1970s.
A spokesperson for SNH said: ‘Our rigorous work on developing a removal plan for hedgehogs in the Western Isles is ongoing. We are at an extremely early stage in developing further proposals to tackle the issue of the hedgehogs.’
David Maclennan, SNH’s unit manager for Argyll and the Outer Hebrides, said: ‘Our work has successfully removed almost all introduced hedgehogs from North Uist. The key challenge for us now is to secure funding to deliver a large scale project to remove all the hedgehogs from the Uists and enable recovery of the internationally important wader populations. Work in this regard is ongoing.’