Manager Sought For Scilly’s Seabird Recovery Project

The RSPB has launched the search for a manager to run their Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project.

The work involves trying to reverse the decline in seabird populations seen over the past 25 years.

And a key part of the project is to try to control the number of rats across Scilly, including an ambitious goal to completely eradicate them from St Agnes and Gugh.

A feasibility report, commissioned in 2010, identified rats as the biggest threat to breeding birds on the islands, particularly the Manx Shearwater and storm petrel. The report also detailed other economic and health benefits of eradicating rats, although several factors suggested this was not possible anywhere other than St Agnes and Gugh.

On St Mary’s, it’s because of the density of building in Hugh Town and the poor waste management. On St Martin’s and Bryher, re-infestation would occur from nearby Tresco, where the feeding of game birds supports their rat population.

Damage from rats and the cost of controlling them is said to cost the islands up to £200,000 per year and removing rats from inhabited areas will prevent re-infestation of the uninhabited islands where the birds nest.

The project is being run closely with the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the Duchy of Cornwall. It’s also received a £4,000 grant from the AONB’s SDF fund.

The full time project manager’s job will be based in Scilly and details can be found on the RSPB’s website.