Tag Archives: Scotland

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LIFE LaserFence Project – the focus on rats!

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By Dave Parish, GWCT Head of Scottish Lowland Research

The LIFE funded Laser Fence project is testing a novel laser system for potential use as a deterrent for pest species of mammals. This is based on the existing laser which is manufactured by Bird Control Group as a bird scaring device, for which it is very effective. This currently offers managers a non-lethal, automated means of keeping pest birds away from vulnerable crops, or potentially dangerous areas such as runways, but is untested on mammals.

Rats feeding at one of the bait sites, prior to LaserFence deployment

At the Game and Wildlife Scottish Demonstration Farm, we have been designing trials to look at a number of species to the LaserFence system, including rabbits, deer and predatory species, but we are now in a position to formally test this on rats. This is a key species for the project because there is a push to reduce rodenticide use across Europe, so if LaserFence can deter rats from designated areas, it may offer an alternative to poisons in some circumstances. This in turn could help reduce accidental poisoning of non-target species and contamination of the food-chain, which can then harm predatory species.

The site for LaserFence trials on rats at GWSDF. A solar panel, which powers the device via a battery, can be seen in the foreground

These trials will be conducted within two disused buildings which have been fenced-off to keep people out, but which are being used by the local rats. We have been monitoring small piles of grain for a couple of weeks now to quantify rat activity in these areas and will shortly be turning the lasers on. If they work, we hope to record a significant drop in activity within the buildings.

 


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Second video Laser Fence

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IRIS publishes the second part of a series of videos about the trips made in October to Scotland, England, The Netherlands and Spain for Laser Fence. You can watch it below.

 


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Notice boards for dissemination of Laser Fence

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Volterra has designed the notice boards which are a valuable tool to disseminate information about the project to indirect stakeholders and the wider public.

At five of the six trial sites the partners have placed a notice board with a description of the project in Spanish and English. Additionally, two project partners have placed a smaller sized copy (A3) of the notice board at their office in their respective working languages.

A pdf version of the notice boards is available through our download section.

Below you can see the installation of notice boards at our partners´ facilities and trial sites.

 

Fig.1 : Small notice board at Volterra’s facilities.

Fig.2 : Small notice board at IRIS’ facilities.

Fig.3 : Notice board at Cucanoche

Fig.4 : Notice board at Cuarterola

Fig.5 : Notice board at Aboyne

Fig.6 : Notice board at Wölferlingen.

Fig.7 : Notice board at Malpas.

 


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IRIS visits Game & Wildlife Scottish Demostration Farm

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On October 20, IRIS began its journey through the plots of the LIFE Laser Fence project. The team decided together with the partners in the United Kingdom, to initiate the trials on the plots located in Aboyne (Scotland). There they were received on the facilities of the Game & Wildlife Scottish Demostration Farm (GWSDF) by Marlies Nicolai and Dave Parish.

The two hosts showed IRIS staff the areas where the laser has been used so far (5 in total) and the farm facilities. Together, they planned the monitoring of the flights, defining 3 interesting intervals to take images with the drones: sunrise, noon and sunset.

Over the next 3 days, IRIS did a total of 8 satisfactory flights at different times of the day: noon, afternoon and evening. Due to the adverse weather conditions (rain and strong gusts of wind) during that period, it was not possible to complete the flights in the early morning hours before sunrise.

On the other hand, the great abundance of rabbits in the area, made it possible to accurately calibrate the flight parameters of the drones. With this information, the IRIS team will be able to plan the rest of the flights in the coming campaigns.