A special place... The Isles of Scilly are one of only two places in England where Manx Shearwaters breed
Under threat...The Isles of Scilly hold 3,000 fewer pairs of breeding seabirds than 25 years ago
We need YOUR help to protect our important seabird heritage
This week Jaclyn visited the island of Pianosa, Tuscany, Italy, where this LIFE project is delivering a similar project to protect shearwaters and wider wildlife.
The Project "RESTO CON LIFE is a LIFE Natura project co-funded by the European Commission http://www.restoconlife.eu/en/?s=sposimo. The coordinating beneficiary Tuscan Archipelago National Park – together with the associated beneficiaries, the Institute for the Protection and Environmental Research, the Department of Biology of the University of Florence, and the Territorial Office for Biodiversity of the State Forestry – are working on improving the conservation status of habitats and rare species of animals and plants on the islands of Pianosa, Elba, Montecristo, and Giannutri.
The visit was hosted by Paulo Sposimo, NEMO Nature and Environment Management Operators Ltd. Jaclyn visited the small island of Pianosa, where black rats were recently eradicated using ground based operation of rodenticide (4000 stations compared to the 1000 stations used on our St Agnes and Gugh project), in order to safeguard seabirds. The Yelkouan shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan)is endemic to the Mediterranean, travelling long distances to get food (up to 285 km long flights were recorded in Malta). The Shearwater’s nests and nestlings are threatened by rats (and feral cats).
Jaclyn had the fortune to join monitoring surveys for the key species and see Scopoli’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) on the nest. This is a pelagic species whose breeding area is almost totally confined to the Mediterranean. It currently nests in Pianosa with about 30-60 pairs, and on the Scola islet its population consists of about 150-200 pairs. Recently, a few pairs have also been reported in the north of the island of Montecristo (where rats have successfully been removed).
Jaclyn joined biosecurity checks (permanent bait stations on the island) and only found sign of insects, and with the team, compared and contrasted the challenges and opportunities shared by restoration projects across Europe.
Jaclyn wishes the team the best of luck for declaring rat free status next year (after a two year period), and a resulting increase in the productivity of the shearwaters and a hopeful return of storm petrels to the island. Thanks all the team for their wonderful hospitality "Grazie mille per la tua generosa ospitalità".
Paul Sposimo (left), Antonella, Jaclyn and Enrica on Scola islet.
Francessa Giannini (right) from 'Tuscan Archipelago National Park (right)
Scopoli's shearwater on nest site.
Jaclyn next to shearwater 'nest box' under stones on Pianosa coast
Paulo and Jaclyn check the location of 'biosecurity stations'
Only signs of insects are found in the bait stations.