FW: Re Isles of Scilly rat eradication to 'save seabirds' begins

To: "Birding-aus (E-mail)" <>
Subject: FW: Re Isles of Scilly rat eradication to 'save seabirds' begins
From: Peter Shute <>
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 13:35:00 +1100
Some of you might be interested to read about this rat eradication project in 
the UK, described as "the largest community-based island restoration project 
attempted in the world to date". I imagine with residents on the islands, and 
therefore regular boat visits, that preventing reintroduction will be as 
difficult as the initial eradication.

Peter Shute

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Shyama Pagad
Sent: Tuesday, 12 November 2013 6:06 AM
Subject: [Aliens-L] Re Isles of Scilly rat eradication to 'save seabirds' begins

Isles of Scilly rat eradication to 'save seabirds' begins

By Chris Ellis
BBC News Online

A project aimed at protecting internationally important seabird populations on 
two of the Isles of Scilly by killing more than 3,000 brown rats, is under way.

The islands, which are located off Cornwall, are home to breeding populations 
of 14 seabird species and approximately 20,000 birds.

Eradication experts from New Zealand and the UK have been contracted to carry 
out the work. "Among many challenges our seabirds face, the greatest threat on 
land is predation of eggs and chicks by brown rats," said Jaclyn Pearson from 
the Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project. "The brown rats were accidently 
introduced to islands from shipwrecks in the 18th Century," she added.

'Intensive baiting'

The project is part of a 25-year programme to protect "internationally 
important" seabird numbers, including those of Manx shearwaters and storm 
petrels, and is costing more than £755,000.

The rodents will be poisoned on St Agnes and Gugh by Wildlife Management 
International Limited (WMIL). The company has helped eradicate rats from Ramsey 
Island off Wales, Lundy Island off Devon and the Isle of Canna in the Scottish 
Hebrides. Elizabeth Bell, from WMIL said: "A period of intensive baiting will 
start from the 8 November and most of the rats will be dead by the end of 
November. We'll then target the surviving rats."

A long-term monitoring programme will start at the beginning of 2014 to check 
the rodents have been eradicated from the islands.

Ms Bell said all the bait stations were enclosed, tied down and were designed 
not to kill any other species, such as rabbits. Ms Pearson said: "The project 
is 25 years in length, although the project team will disband after five years, 
for the remaining 20 years the community will continue to protect their seabird 
heritage, by keeping the islands 'rat-free'.

"This includes correct waste management, ensuring bio-security on boats and 
freight to the islands, and of course, educating all visitors to the islands to 
be vigilant and 'rat on a rat'".

"This is the largest community-based island restoration project attempted in 
the world to date, with 85 residents living here year round." She added that 
similar populated islands around the world hoped to learn from the project and 
carry out similar work to "safeguard their seabirds".

A feasibility study estimated the population of brown rats on the Isles of 
Scilly was about 34,500, with 3,100 occurring on St Agnes and Gugh.

Johnny Birks, chair of the Mammal Society, said: "Brown rats are not native to 
Britain... it's our own fault they are so widespread and that makes it right 
for us to repair the damage we've caused.".....

Shyama Pagad
Program Manager
Invasive Species Information Management
University of Auckland

Program Officer
IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group

Tel +64 9 3737599 (X88624) DDI +64 9 9238624   Fax +64 9 3737042
skype: shyama.pagad
The IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group aims to reduce threats to 
natural ecosystems and the native species they contain by increasing awareness 
of the impacts of invasive species; and of ways to prevent their spread and, 
control or eradicate them.

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