Bell, E.

The inhabited Isles of Scilly, 45 km off the south-western tip of the UK, are home to 13 seabird species including European storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) and Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus), for which the UK has a global responsibility. Between 1983 and 2006, the overall seabird population in Scilly declined by c.25%. This decline triggered the establishment of the Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project, a partnership with the aims to reverse seabird decline and engage the local community and visitors in conserving Scilly’s seabird heritage.

Considerable bene?ts can be achieved for indigenous biodiversity when invasive vertebrates are removed from islands. In New Zealand, two logistically challenging eradications were undertaken, one to remove cats (Felis catus) and the other Paci?c rats (Rattus exulans) from Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island (Hauturu). Here we document the short- and long-term impacts of these interventions on the biodiversity of Hauturu. We also assess the extent to which predicted outcomes were re?ected in the measured responses for a wide range of species.

As part of the Isles of Scilly Seabird Recovery Project, and directed by Wildlife Management International Ltd, the eradication of brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) from the inhabited islands of St Agnes & Gugh, Isles of Scilly was completed between October 2013 and April 2014 with the assistance of volunteers, and staff from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and Natural England. Bait stations with cereal-based wax blocks containing bromadiolone at 0.005% w/w were established on a 40–50 metre grid over the island.

A successful ground-based eradication of black rats (Rattus rattus) was undertaken on the remote, uninhabited Shiant Isles of north-west Scotland over winter (14 October–28 March) 2015–16. The rat eradication was carried out as part of the Shiants Seabird Recovery Project, which aims to secure long-term breeding habitat for protected seabirds and to attract European storm petrels and Manx shearwaters to nest on the Shiants.

Rat eradication techniques developed in New Zealand are a proven method for removing invasive rodents from islands worldwide. This technology moved rapidly from ground-based bait station operations to aerial application of rodenticides. Rat eradications on tropical islands using similar methods, have not always been as successful as those in temperate regions. As most previous eradications in the Caribbean have been on islands smaller than 50 ha, the eradication of black rats (Rattus rattus) from 207 ha Dog Island was a significant increase in size.