Manx Shearwaters are doing well after rat removal on the United Kingdom’s island of Lundy

Numbers of Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus on the United Kingdom island of Lundy off the coast of Devon have increased since rats were eliminated in 2004.

“Culling the rat population on Lundy 10 years ago has led to a "striking" increase in the number of seabirds on the island.  The Lundy Seabird Recovery Project was set up in 2003 to help the Manx shearwater population, which had fallen to just 300 breeding pairs.  A survey this spring revealed a tenfold rise in numbers to 3,000 pairs” (click here).

Two species of invasive rats (Brown Rattus norvegicus and Black R. rattus) were eradicated from Lundy by the eradication project.

Attempts are now being made to rid the UK’s Scilly Isles of St Agnes and Gugh of rats to protect their populations of Manx Shearwaters and European Storm Petrels Hydrobates pelagicus (click here).

Selected References:

Appleton, D., Booker, H., Bullock, D.J., Cordrey, L. & Sampson, B. 2006.  The seabird recovery project: Lundy Island.  Atlantic Seabirds 8: 51-60.

Brooke, M. de L. 1990.  The Manx Shearwater.  London: T. A.D. Poyser.  246 pp.

Newton, S.F., Thompson, K. & Mitchell, P.I. 2004.  Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus.  In: Mitchell, P.I., Newton, S.F., Ratcliffe, N. & Dunn, T.E.  Seabird Populations of Britain and Ireland.  Results of the Seabird 2000 Census (1998-2002).  London: Christopher Helm.  pp. 63-80.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 1 August 2013

The Agreement on the
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ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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