Orkney’s Big 5

Written by Christine Skene

Scottish Natural Heritage have announced the results of the voting for Orkney Big 5 – the five species regarded as most special amongst the wide range of Orkney’s wildlife.

Over a thousand people voted through the month of August for their ‘favourite five’, starting from the time of the County Show, and SNH announced the results at the Science Festival, and organised a bus tour to see the Big 5 and other species on the way.

And it was the seals that won it – with 131 votes out of a total of 1191 cast altogether.

Next came the Puffin with 98, followed closely by the Hen Harrier (94), the Primula Scotica (87) and the Curlew (73).

Then came the Short-eared Owl (72), the Otter (58), the Orca (51), the Brown Hare (38), and the Orkney Vole (37).

The results were quite close to SNH’s own top five, which also included Hen Harrier, Primula Scotica, Curlew and Seal, but with the Fulmar rather than the Puffin.

Amongst the votes from younger people (under-18), the Seals were also top, with the Orca taking second place ahead of the Puffin, and then the Short-eared Owl and the Otter. 341 young people voted.

The range of species mentioned was very varied and diverse. No less than 123 species received a vote. They included Skylark and Kestrel, Limpet and Hermit Crab, Birdsfoot Trefoil and Primrose, and the Great Yellow Bumblebee and the Green Tiger Beetle.

Orkney’s Big 5 is part of a wider ‘Scotland’s Big 5’ national campaign which is being promoted by Scottish Natural Heritage and VisitScotland in support of the Year of Natural Scotland 2013. There are more details on the Scottish Natural Heritage website and the SNH Facebook page.

About the author

Christine Skene

Christine Skene has been involved in wildlife and conservation work in Orkney for many years, working for Orkney Islands Council and latterly for Scottish Natural Heritage.