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Weasels and stoats are notoriously challenging to study, as they are infrequently seen and field signs are rarely found. Whilst both species are considered to be widespread and common in Britain, there is very little data on their abundance and population trends at a national scale, and both species are currently listed as data deficient. Vincent Wildlife Trust is interested in methods that can be used to reliably monitor weasels and stoats and better understand their population status.
The aim of this current study is to test two different camera trap methods for detecting weasels and stoats. The first method is a ‘Mostela’: a wooden box with a camera trap and tracking tunnel inside. Weasels and stoats will investigate tunnels and holes out of natural curiosity and this method has been used successfully in previous studies. The second method is a stand-alone external camera trap set up outside the box. We are interested to see which camera method is most effective at detecting weasels and stoats. The Mostela and camera are set up along linear features, such as hedgerows and ditches, which we know weasels and stoats use. As always, the cameras also record lots of other species, which we are interested in too.