2 minute read
Tracking feral mountain goats up the craggy cliffs of the Llŷn Peninsula is no easy challenge, as the BBC’s Matt Baker found out when he visited a new project that is monitoring the local population.
Lee Oliver, project manager for the national conservation charity Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust Cymru (GWCT), invited the former One Show host to set up the first trail camera to capture the wild goats as they use the natural features to hurdle fences. Thankfully, the project is partnering with Liverpool John Moores University, which is using its advanced ‘deep learning’ software to identify goats in the photos collected. “You get thousands of shots” explains Lee, “capturing mice and rabbits and things. This saves a lot of time analysing photographs!”.
The study site surrounds the Nant Gwrtheyrn Welsh language centre and is utilising the expertise of local landowners, farmers and the Llŷn Peninsula Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty along with a host of other monitoring methods, as Lee Oliver explains: “We’re doing all we can to get an accurate picture. In addition to the trail cameras, we’ll be undertaking drone surveys, fitting tracking collars and engaging the local community to count them together”.
Funded by the AONB Sustainable Development Fund, the short project runs until November, but those involved are keen to make it part of a longer research initiative. Sue Evans, Director Cymru at the GWCT, outlined their desire to keep working in the area: “There is so much we would like to do, but as ever it comes down to funding. Analysing faecal pellets would give us a real insight, as the GWCT has proven with its leading research into fox populations. Hopefully, a TV audience of 4 million people will only help our cause.”
The project was broadcast on Sunday 30 May and you can watch the clip here.
Notes to editors
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.
ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.
For information, contact:
Telephone: 01425 651000