Lundy Island’s population of Manx Shearwater has grown to ten times what it was in 2003, according to The National Trust.
The population fell to as low as 300 breeding pairs before the Lundy Seabird Recovery Project was set up in 2003. The low number of birds was due to rats, which came to Lundy via boat from North Devon.
Once on the island, the rats wreaked havoc with the local ecosystem by eating birds’ eggs and attacking young chicks.
One of the first acts undertaken by the Lundy Seabird Recovery Project was to cull the rat population of Lundy, a technique which has yielded great success ten years on.
Manx Shearwater have not been the only species to benefit from the cull; puffins, guillemots and razorbills have also all substantially increased in number. Helen Booker of the RSPB said the results had been “greater than expected.”
The project has been so successful, that a similar operation is due to start on the Isles of Scilly this summer.