Update From The Reserve – April 2018
Written by: Stewart Borland
Published: 24th April 2018, last updated: 17th May 2019
We have some really exciting developments to share with you from the reserve this month. From the opening of our new Wildcat Rehabilitation Centre, to the return of our Canada geese, as well as preparations for a new conservation project and brand new species.
Wildcat Rehabilitation Centre
We are thrilled to announce the opening of our new wildcat enclosure, covering over an acre of wild woodland and natural den sites. It is the first Scottish wildcat rehabilitation centre of its kind, as well as the largest in Europe. With an estimated 35 wildcats remaining, every one counts.
Wildcats face many threats which can lead to the abandonment of kittens. The space is designed to provide a lifeline for the majestic species. It will allow orphaned kittens to learn to hunt and injured adults to recuperate, without being stressed by human presence, before being returned to the wild at the earliest opportunity.
Wildcat Haven – a wildcat conservation project in Scotland – commented, “[The centre] is built without compromise and with only the wildcat’s needs in mind. It has multiple secluded den sites, forest, a running stream and open grassland areas. It represents absolute best practice and sets the standard against which all other wildcat enclosures should be judged.”
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Guess The Animal
Last month we told you we were preparing to welcome a new species on the reserve. Since then we’ve installed 50 cages for our new breed and release programme, as well as subterranean nesting boxes and an 8x8x4ft pond. Quite the combination! The question is – do you know what species we might be getting ready for? Let us know on our Facebook page.
Here’s a clue for you. They are the most endangered mammal species in the UK. Nearly 90% of their population has disappeared in the last seven years, primarily due to habitat loss and mink predation. These semi-aquatic burrowers tend to eat close to home and keep themselves safe underground.
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Canada Geese Return
You might remember the 8 Canada goose chicks that hatched on the reserve last year. We had expected our feathered friends to be only winter reserve visitors, so we were delighted to see them return this month. What’s even better, is that our same Canada goose parents are back nesting in exactly the same spot.
In an attempt to evidence their return, Stewart almost sank while wading out to one of the islands to get that all-important photo! We’re now keeping our eyes peeled and fingers crossed for the return of the osprey.
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Book Your Visit
With so many new things to see on the reserve, we’d be delighted for you to visit us. We try to offer guided tours 7 days a week, but our capacity is limited to one buggy and the number of volunteers available. For this reason, we kindly ask you to book ahead and give us as much notice as possible.
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Clip of the Month: Otter Pups
All of that mackerel has clearly been paying off for our otter cam! Up by the lochan we recently got some of our most exciting otter clips to date. Now equipped with audio recording, we picked up the distinctive sound of adult otters calling to their pups. We work hard to give an immersive experience of the reserve!
Coming Up in May 2018
How would you like to spend an evening on the reserve, get back to nature and take a true digital detox? No electricity, no running water – just a wood-burning stove to keep cosy. Sound good? Come back next month to learn more!
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