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LIFE Shiants - Protecting and restoring the Shiant Isles SPA through rat removal, and safeguarding other seabird island SPAs in the UK.

Project Status : Active

Project Phase : Planning

Project Location : United Kingdom

Project reference LIFE13 NAT/UK/000209

Duration : 01-OCT-2014 to 30-SEP -2018

Total budget : 1,116,088.00 (1535513.87 US Dollar)

EU contribution : 558,044.00 (767756.94 US Dollar)

Project description:


The Shiant Isles Natura 2000 network site is a key site for seabirds. However, the site faces several threats, including the presence of invasive rats that predate important seabird colonies. When conditions were last assessed in 2008, both of the seabirds covered by the assessment razorbill (Alca torda) and common guillemot (Uria lge) were classified as unfavourable declining . At present, few biosecurity plans exist for islands such as the Shiants, and no clear best practice guidelines are available. As a result, many key breeding colonies are vulnerable to invasions by alien species, and managers are ill prepared to respond to such invasions. Preparatory work for the LIFE project suggested that a sustainable eradication of rats was feasible at a reasonable cost on the Shiant Isles, particularly given their remote location.


The main seabird species targeted by the LIFE Shiants project are razorbill, Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) and European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis). In addition, the project expects to benefit a range of other species, including European storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) and Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus).

The main objectives of the project are to:

Remove invasive rats from the Shiant Isles Natura 2000 network site, thereby eliminating a significant pressure on the existing seabird population;

Promote the colonisation of the Shiant Isles by European storm petrel and Manx shearwater, for example, through the use of call playback;

Protect the Shiants through improved biosecurity by establishing minimum biosecurity standards, producing a guideline document for island managers and carrying out training exercises across the country; and

Build expertise within the UK (and elsewhere in the EU) in island restoration, thereby reducing reliance on expensive external contractors.

Expected results:

Eradication of rats from the Shiant Isles Natura 2000 network site;

Increase of the populations of puffin, razorbill and European shag, with similar improvements in the status of other seabirds, including common guillemot, black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) and northern fulmar (Fulmaris glacialis);

Increase of the populations of other species found on the Shiants, including terrestrial and wading birds, invertebrates and plants;

Increase in the rate of recovery of Shiant Isles Atlantic puffin, razorbill, European shag, and other seabird populations, as predicted by similar rat eradication projects elsewhere in the UK, with productivity at or above the level required to maintain stable populations by the end of the project (this level is 0.253 fledglings per pair a yea

country :United States

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Article Details
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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 12, 2014
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