The Isles of Scilly are internationally important for seabirds with 20,000 breeding birds of 14 different species. The Seabird Recovery Project seeks to safeguard seabird colonies in Scilly and to reverse their population decline. The project is run by a partnership of organisations including the RSPB, the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and Natural England. The Isles of Scilly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership and the Isles of Scilly Bird Group also support the project.
The project partners recently secured funding to deliver the initiative. The project, which begins in early 2013, will be grant-aided by EU Life Nature Programme, Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Isles of Scilly AONB Sustainable Development Fund, Natural England, the Duchy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust.
This new 25 year partnership project has a number of aims including the protection and restoration of seabird populations, increasing the number of people actively involved in seabird conservation, and enabling the islands to make the most of these assets by providing better access and enjoyment for people, which provides the income for islanders that will help secure the future of these birds.
Paul St Pierre, RSPB Conservation Officer, said; “As well as seeking to bolster the population of seabirds, we want our project to involve more people in the celebration, enjoyment and protection of the islands’ seabird heritage.”
“The Isles of Scilly have long traded on the quality of its natural environment and seabirds are a major element of that. Who can imagine a trip here in spring or summer, for instance, without trying to see the puffins?
“We want this project to help these islands make more of their seabird heritage and to strengthen still further its image as a seabird-friendly destination through the use of various media, including web technology, for an ever wider audience.
“Those involved will be working closely with the local community to help them make the most of this important part of the islands’ economy. In sharing this experience with similar communities elsewhere, we hope this will encourage and support others in giving their seabirds a brighter future.”
David Mawer, Senior Conservation Warden, Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust said: “This is a very exciting project and will bring many benefits to wildlife, locals and visitors, and crucially it will safeguard Annet, Scilly’s most important seabird reserve. The successful removal of rats from the uninhabited island of St. Helen’s resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of Manx shearwaters breeding there. The eerie cries and shadowy silhouettes of seabirds at dusk could soon be another wildlife spectacle enjoyed by locals and visitors on St. Agnes. To hear storm petrels singing magically from within the boulder beaches would be really wonderful. Seabirds already attract visitors to Scilly, and this project and the clever use of technology can reveal more of their fascinating lives, whilst leaving the seabirds free from unwanted disturbance viagra niederlande.”
Speaking for HLF, Richard Bellamy, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said “We have some wonderful native wildlife on the Isles of Scilly and collectively we have a responsibility for its survival. It is the prospect of glimpsing rare species, such as the storm petrel and Manx shearwater, that attracts many visitors to our shores bringing much-needed tourist income to our rural communities. This project gives us all the opportunity to learn more about seabirds and the role they place in the Isle of Scilly’s biodiversity and help secure their future.”
Angelo Salsi, Head of the LIFE Nature Unit within the European Commission said; “I am delighted that EU Life funding will allow restoration of the islands for the benefit of seabirds. These islands form a vital part of the Isles of Scilly Special Protection Area, which in turn is part of the EU-wide Natura 2000 network of sites, including all the best and most valuable examples of our common European natural heritage. The work that the team will carry out will be of great benefit to the seabirds that breed on St Agnes, Gugh and the neighbouring island of Annet, and will also help to improve the quality of life of the people who live on St Agnes and Gugh.”
A Project Manager and Community Engagement Officer will oversee the delivery of the project.
Read more about the project here…