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The Lynx to Scotland Project: assessing the social feasibility of potential Eurasian lynx reintroduction to Scotland (David Bavin and Jenny MacPherson)

The Lynx to Scotland study sought to assess the social feasibility of potential lynx reintroduction to Scotland through consultation with stakeholders and communities in two focal areas — Cairngorms National Park (CNP) and Argyll. Whilst the ecological feasibility of lynx reintroduction has been approached by previous efforts for Scotland, the Lynx to Scotland study represents the first effort to assess social feasibility. This is of central importance for the proposed reintroduction of a large carnivore that has been absent from Britain for a period of time equivalent to multiple human generations. The backbone of the study constituted an academic investigation using Q-Methodology, a technique used to quantify the subjective views of people towards a given topic. 

Photo: ©Pexels-David Selbert


E. Croose et al (2021) Assessing the detectability of the Irish stoat Mustela erminea hibernica using two camera trap‑based survey methods

The Irish stoat M. erminea hibernica is a subspecies endemic to Ireland and the Isle of Man but, despite being widespread in Ireland, no information exists on its population status due to the difficulty of detection. This study compared the efficacy of two camera trap methods (the Mostela, a modified camera trapping device, and an external camera trap outside the Mostela) to detect Irish stoats in counties Mayo and Galway, Republic of Ireland. It also evaluates the potential applicability of both methods for future work to assess the population and conservation status of this little-studied species.

Photo: Irish stoat ©Carrie Crowley (Crossing the Line Films)


P. G. R. Wright et al. (2021) Characterising the relationship between suitable habitat and gene flow for Myotis bechsteinii and Eptesicus serotinus in Britain

Habitat suitability models (HSM) have been used to understand the impacts of landscape-scale habitat connectivity and gene flow mostly by assuming a regular decrease in the cost of movement as habitat improves. Yet, habitat selection and gene flow are governed by different behavioural processes which may limit the reliability of this approach. This study aimed to identify the optimal relationship between gene flow and HSMs for two bat species (Myotis bechsteinii and Eptesicus serotinus) in Britain in order to inform future bat conservation studies.


Photo: ©Frank Greenaway


Long-term strategic recovery plan for pine martens in Britain (Jenny MacPherson and Patrick Wright, June 2021)

The aim of this document is to set out a strategic, long-term recovery plan for pine martens in Britain. It follows on from a previous strategy produced in 2011 (Jordan, 2011), which outlined the practical work and research needed to restore and secure the future of pine marten populations in England and Wales up until 2020.

We present a summary of what has been achieved so far and set out a continuing recovery plan for pine martens across Britain that maintains this strategic approach, while emphasising the importance of conserving recovering populations in Scotland.


Photo: ©Robert Cruickshanks


Wright, P. G. R. et al (2021) Can effective population size estimates be used to monitor population trends of woodland bats? A case study of Myotis bechsteinii.

This paper uses a case study on  the elusive woodland bat Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii) to explore the effectiveness of genetic approaches as a way to monitor elusive long-lived species.

Photo: Bechstein’s bat ©Henry Schofield


Catherine O’Reilly, Peter Turner, Declan T. O’Mahony, Joshua P. Twining, David G. Tosh, Christopher Smal, Kate McAney, Ciara Powell, John Power, Denise B. O’Meara (2021) Not out of the woods yet: genetic insights related to the recovery of the pine marten (Martes martes) in Ireland

In this study, the history of the pine marten (Martes martes) in Ireland is reviewed, revealing that the population has undergone several retractions and expansions over the last few hundred years. Here, we consider the genetic legacy of this flux in fortunes and its likely impacts upon the conservation and future recovery of the species.

Photo: ©Ruth Hanniffy



Preliminary work towards a sustainable harvesting model of pine martens in Scotland for translocations (to supplement a long-term strategy and recovery plan for pine martens in Britain) Jenny MacPherson, Elizabeth Croose, Ciara Powell, Stephen Carter, Catherine O’Reilly 31 March 2020

Since 2015, VWT has been involved in pine marten translocations from Scotland for population restoration in Wales and, more recently, Gloucestershire. A primary consideration in these translocations has been to minimise the potential for negative impacts on recovering donor populations in Scotland. To this end, surveys and monitoring have been carried out to collect further data to inform the way in which current and future sustainable harvesting models are applied. Based on precautionary principles, VWT adopted a highly conservative approach to trapping and removals in the first instance. Data on indices of marten activity at donor sites to date suggest that this has proved effective, and population estimates derived from genetic analysis of non-invasively collected samples support the suggestion that only a relatively small proportion of resident animals have been removed. However, the sampling strategy could be improved to refine population estimates further and better inform the way in which donor populations are managed and conserved in the face of higher demand from other organisations in future.


Finch, D. et al. (2020) Implications of Endectocide Residues on the Survival of Aphodiine Dung Beetles: A Meta‐Analysis

This quantitative meta-analysis of 22 studies documents the non-target effects of endectocide residues on dung-dwelling organisms,  such as the Aphodiine dung beetle and provides evidence on the consequences of different application methods, and the need for standardised methodological techniques in future studies.

Photo: Aphodius fossor @British Scarabs CC BY-NC-ND



Bavin, D. et al. (2020). Using Q-methodology to understand stakeholder perspectives on a carnivore translocation

As part of a national recovery programme for the pine marten Martes martes, a protected mesocarnivore in the UK, we used Q-methodology to understand the perspectives of residents living in an area in which a pine marten translocation project was planned.


Finch, D. et al. (2020). Traffic noise playback reduces the activity and feeding behaviour of free-living bats

Using a Before-After-Control-Impact phantom road experimental
design, we examine the impacts of traffic noise on bat activity and feeding behaviour.

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