A partnership project led by the RSPB, the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and Natural England to remove rats from the Islands of St Agnes and Gugh to protect important Seabird colonies, is gaining momentum.
Elizabeth Bell from Wildlife Management International Limited (WMIL) has been on the Islands recently to complete a pre-rat removal assessment. This is to ensure the Islands of St Agnes and Gugh are ‘rat ready’ when baiting begins in November 2013.
Individual discussions with residents aimed to meet the community’s needs regarding composting, waste management, storage of feed for animals and other aspects to minimise food availability to rats, and maximise the effectiveness of baiting.
Spalding Associates (Environmental) Ltd are carrying out an ecological assessment in order to understand the impact of the project on the abundance of other wildlife. Other island restoration work has demonstrated dramatic benefits. Volunteers and project staff are helping with surveys of invertebrates, mammals (including Scilly shrew), landbirds and vegetation. This year represents the baseline survey, ending in September. Volunteers will continue the surveys in 2014 and 1015 to monitor change after rats have gone. The Scilly shrew is of particular interest.
If you would like more information on the Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project, please contact Jaclyn Pearson (Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project Manager) at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ios-seabirds.org.uk