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Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 11:22 GMT
Boost for ailing puffin islands
Puffin (picture by John Cunningham)
Puffin numbers are decreasing on islands in the Forth
Efforts to secure the future of endangered puffin colonies on two islands in the Firth of Forth have received a 250,000 boost.

The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick has secured an environment grant from national waste management company Viridor Credits.

The money is to be used to halt the spread of the tree mallow plant which smothers puffins' burrow entrances.

Work is to be carried out on the islands of Craigleith and Fidra.

They were among Britain's largest puffin colonies but in recent years the numbers of birds have fallen dramatically from about 28,000 breeding pairs to 3,000.

The project will make a significant impact locally with real and lasting benefits for our local environment, its wildlife and our community
Tom Brock
Scottish Seabird Centre

The tree mallow plant which clogs up the entrances to the puffins' burrows and hampers their breeding prospects.

Tom Brock, chief executive of The Scottish Seabird Centre, said: "The project will make a significant impact locally with real and lasting benefits for our local environment, its wildlife and our community.

"It gives us the opportunity to save this important species from local extinction and prevent the loss of further habitats for the amazing wildlife in this area."

'Enthusiasm and dedication'

The seabird centre beat off stiff competition from hundreds of wildlife and environmental projects across the UK to gain the funding.

Dr Ian White, Viridor Credits chairman, said: "We were very impressed by the Seabird Centre's proposal.

"It stood out from all the others around the country in its professionalism, its profile and achievements nationally and internationally.

"Most important, however, is its track record of inspiring and engaging with people of all ages and abilities.

"Having visited The Scottish Seabird Centre for our final assessment, the enthusiasm and dedication of the team behind SOS Puffin is infectious and we actually feel part of it. We look forward to seeing the results."


SEE ALSO
Puffin colony's future in doubt
26 Jul 05 |  Scotland
Puffins win island rat war
18 Sep 02 |  Scotland

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