St Agnes Children Thanked For Keeping An Eye On Rats

seabird project st agnes schoolIt’s just over two years since the project to remove all rats from St Agnes and Gugh began.

And although there have been no signs of the rodents since early in 2014, schoolchildren there are continuing to carry out the biosecurity checks needed to make sure the islands stay rat free.

They’ve been checking every two weeks to see whether the boxes placed around the coast and containing flavoured wax blocks show any signs of rat teeth marks.

That could indicate that the animals have returned.

But project manager Jaclyn Pearson says so far, the only marks have been made by Scilly shrews, who prefer the peanut butter blocks to the chocolate ones.

And they even found a shrew that had made its nest in one of the boxes.

Jaclyn says the children know what they have to do to report signs of rats and she thanked them for all their hard work keeping a look out for the rodents.

The rat eradication work is designed to improve the chances of seabirds breeding on St Agnes, Gugh and the surrounding islands, where rats have been eating their eggs.

Early indications have been good, with the first Manx shearwater chicks in a generation emerging from their burrows last year.

Yesterday willow weaver Suzie Taylor also joined Jaclyn and the children in the classroom to create animal sculptures.