Birds return to rat-free island: number of puffins on Lundy island rises from less than 20 to 375 after £ 50,000 project to exterminate killer rats
- Puffins were nearly extinct on Lundy, after rats ate all their eggs
- A project to kill all 40,000 rats on the island was successful in 2006
- There were fewer than 20 in 2000, but now there are 375 puffins on the island
The numbers of seabirds on a rocky British island are increasing after the predators were eradicated.
The £ 50,000 project to get rid of 40,000 rats on the island of Lundy, off the Devon coast, was introduced when the number of puffin aircraft dropped to less than ten pairs at the turn of the century.
Now experts have counted 375 of the indigenous birds on the island, while the Manx arrowstorm population has grown from 297 pairs to 5,504.
Puffins were nearly extinct on Lundy, after rats ate all their eggs, but now the numbers have recovered
The total number of seabirds, once seriously threatened by rats that ate their eggs and chicks, has tripled since the island was declared rat-free in 2006.
Helen Booker, of the RSPB, said: & This study clearly shows how quickly and positive seabirds respond to the removal of non-native predators.
& # 39; Of course we had expected large population growth, but the extent of this recovery far exceeded our expectations. & # 39;
Lundy warden Dean Jones said: & # 39; It's exciting to see this level of recovery. In the spring, the island & # 39; comes alive at night with the sound of these fantastic birds. & # 39;
There are now 375 birds on the island, after the population had fallen to less than 20 in 2000.
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