Tom Mason and Jeremy Cusack, post-doctoral researchers from Stirling University’s Conservation Science Department, were on Islay last week to begin their study into Greylag geese.
The pilot study would like to see seven Greylag geese tagged with GPS devices that relay the bird’s position in near-real-time to an ‘Animal Tracker’ app developed by the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology in Germany.
Stirling University has a strong legacy of conservation (and, actually, archeological) research on Islay, and collaborates with Scottish Natural Heritage [SNH], through sharing data and looking at trends.
Tom provides some more context, “With the Barnacle geese, the numbers have exploded, from 20,000 twenty years ago to 45-50,000 today. These are the focus of the SNH Islay Goose Management scheme.
There is also now the potential for conflict with the Greylag population, so the plan is to tag a few to find out where they are coming from and going to. Ultimately, says Tom: “Using information about goose ecology, we’ll try and identify ways that we can improve how they get managed.”
He continues, “We would like to help manage any conflict between different stakeholders, farmers, conservationists, and Government organisations.”