Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Plans to rid Scotland’s Rum National Nature Reserve of Norwegian Rats to protect its Manx Shearwaters

Rum National Nature Reserve in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland is internationally important for its breeding Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus, supporting over 60 000 pairs, representing approximately 23% of the global population (click here).

An ongoing PhD project aims to investigate the behaviour, biology, and ecology of invasive rats on Rum, in the context of their potential impacts on the island's globally significant Manx Shearwater breeding populations (click here). Scottish Natural Heritage is now considering whether to eradicate the Isle of Rum’s Norway or Brown Rats Rattus norvegicus to protect its shearwaters (click here).

During 2005/06 Norway Rats were eradicated from the nearby island of Canna by ground baiting following concern that the Manx Shearwater numbers on the island were extremely low, due partly to rat predation (click here).

Manx Shearwater chick in its burrow, photograph by Jaclyn Pearson 

Reference:

Lambert, M., Carlisle, S. & Cain I. 2015.  The role of brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) predation in determining breeding success of Manx shearwaters (Puffinus puffinus) on Rum. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 697.  21 pp.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 03 June 2015

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