Conservation Programmes on Caldey Island
Hedgehogs have been around for 15 million years, once roaming Britain with mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers. But in the past sixty years these much-loved mammals have been driven towards extinction. It is estimated that in the 1950s, there were over 35 million hedgehogs in the UK, whereas they now number about a million, mainly due to the shrinking of their natural habitat. The hedgehog is now a conservation priority. We hope they will thrive on Caldey due to the abundance of natural habitat, the lack of predators, and practically no chance of being run over by cars. They are certainly being seen here more frequently than they once were.
Soay sheep, a very hardy animal well-suited to a sometimes harsh island environment, and listed as being at risk by the Rare Breed Survival Trust, are now on Caldey. Additions to the flock have also arrived to join them in making their home on the luscious pastures in the western sector of the island and providing a valuable contribution to the continued existence of this rare breed. 2019 saw the birth of an additional 16 lambs.
Other successful introductions:
We have recently introduced several species to the island, such as Black Swans, English and French Partridges, Golden Pheasants and Barnacle Geese. All seem to be happy and thriving. Other species, such as the Woodcock which is on the RSPB UK Conservation Status Red List, and Peregrine Falcons, have also made a home here.