Seabird Project Hosting International Visitors This Month

Seabird Recovery Project Team

Seabird Recovery Project Team

Three Italian environmental workers will visit Scilly later this month to learn how St Agnes has eradicated its rat population.

The Italians have been running a similar project on the islands of Tavolara and Molara, off the northeast tip of Sardinia.

That area, like Scilly, has a huge population of shearwaters, which have been threatened by rats eating their eggs.

They started their work in 2008 but after managing to remove all the rodents, the islands were reinvaded within two years.

Seabird Recovery Project Manager Jaclyn Pearson says the Italians are keen to find out how St Agnes is maintaining its rat-free status.

Jaclyn says islanders have been monitoring chocolate bait stations for any signs of the animals and, since November, there have been none.

They’ve has also set up a dedicated phone line for people to “rat on a rat” if they spot one.

Jaclyn says the project has received interest from all over the world but this is the furthest that anyone’s travelled to see the work on the ground so far.

She arranged a visit earlier this year from a resident of the tiny volcanic island of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic, one of the most remote areas of the world, but that had to be cancelled at the last minute.

That person found out about the St Agnes project from an episode of Countryfile, seen on the same day that it was broadcast in the UK.