Ferret hunter sought for Rathlin island in £4.5m RSPB Cull

In what must be one of the most unusual job adverts seen here in Northern Ireland, a bird protection charity RSPB is seeking a ferret hunter for Rathlin island off the north coast. The role of the new island resident, who will be employed for up to five years, will essentially involve killing the invasive species.

The wildlife charity put out the call for a potential island resident on Tuesday with a lengthy list of desirable criteria including a firearm licence and experience of working in an “isolated and small community”.

It’s a hot spot for wildlife enthusiasts and experts who regularly come to the island for periods to help with its sustainability and habitats, within the Rathlin Nature Reserve.
The role is claimed to be an industry first, “writing the rule book” on the job for which they are trying to secure funding for the next 20 years.

CAI are concerned and question is this the best use of public money at this time. If we look at the initial £4.5m for the first 5 years this works out at around £1500 per acre. Could the same outcomes be achieved working with the country sport community who are more experienced in the management of vermin and invasive species. This would come at a far lower cost to the taxpayer and National Lottery.

The successful candidate will be expected lead “the ferret eradication team in the field” by managing a small team of people who will be maintaining traps all across the island.
They have since had an impact on the island’s famous bird population such as puffins and black guillemots who are “naïve” about the predator on the island.

The role of the new island resident, who will be employed for up to five years, will essentially involve killing the invasive species.

Out of the £4.5m, the RSPB are clearly intending only to employ a small number of frontline staff with an aspiration to drag the project out over 20 year, questions do need to be asked as to the true intent of this project. Is this really a conservation project or just a cash cow for a bird protection charity.

 

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