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Last Updated: Monday, 9 October 2006, 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
Families wanted for tiny island
Canna (Pic: National Trust for Scotland)
Canna is in the Small Isles off the west coast of Scotland
An island which has seen drastic action to protect its rare mice and birds is now trying to end a decline in its human population.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) hopes to attract two new families to Canna in the Hebrides.

The trust, which owns the most westerly of the Small Isles, said it has 15 inhabitants left.

In an effort to reverse the decline, NTS is offering two of its properties for rent.

Alex Lindsay, NTS director for the Highlands and Islands, said applicants should be eager to play an active role in the community.

It is hoped that bringing in new residents will contribute to the safeguarding of the school, community and economy of the island
Alex Lindsay

He said: "We are very keen to hear from families who wish to take up the opportunity to live and work on Canna.

"It is hoped that bringing in new residents will contribute to the safeguarding of the school, community and economy of the island, whilst increasing the skills base and making a valuable contribution to island life."

NTS said there were potential employment opportunities on the island for people with building, gardening, electrics or plumbing skills.

Employment on Canna is mainly associated with agriculture in the traditional farming of sheep and cattle together with crofting.

House on Canna (Pic: National Trust for Scotland)
One of the two houses available for rent on Canna

Tourism also plays a role with about 30,000 people visiting every year.

Until now it has been Canna's wildlife that has given NTS most cause for concern.

A rat extermination programme was introduced after it was found that the predators were eating eggs and bird chicks.

The mammals are thought to have been completely wiped out and seabirds such as shag, razorbills and Manx shearwater are showing signs of recovery.

Wood mice were removed from the island so they were not exterminated along with the rats.

Earlier this year, 150 mice were returned to Canna after being looked after at Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park.

For more information about the opportunity to live on Canna, please contact the National Trust Scotland on 01631 564710 from Monday 9 October.

We would love the opportunity to move to Canna, I am a freelance writer and artist. I am married with two young adult children and a two-year-old grandaughter. We could certainly contribute to the community and would immerse ourselves in the life and history of the island.
Bryan Hammond, Sleaford Lincolnshire

Artist and mum of four small children. If I could earn the rent working for NTS, what a marvellous opportunity to be surrounded by Scottish wildlife.
Rachel Stirling, Midlands

I am a teacher in a secondary school teaching RE. I have three boys under the age of 7, and my wife is a homemaker/housewife. Have often thought about living in such a place.
Daniel Boyes, Guisborough, UK

Myself and my partner would absolutely love the chance to relocate to Canna as we are both environmentally aware, recycle and love animals and strongly believe in preservation of wildlife. This would be an excellent opportunity to become part of a community which I feel is lacking in society today.

I would love to be given the chance to learn about farming and agricultural methods. My partner has worked on farms in the past, looking after pigs and the idea of broadening our horizons to doing something new is very appealing.

I believe that we, as individuals must put back into the community and environment for future generations to come. This can only be achieved by working closely together for the good of all.
Kate Elphick, Gloucester, England.

I would love to live in a nature enviroment with the wildlife I am a avid nature lover as is my partner.This would be a dream come true to leave the concrete jungle and join a world of nature.
Andrew Whalley, Rochdale, England

We live down in the south of Scotland, with our three children and two dogs. Living on an island has always been a dream of mine, and I would definitely seriously consider such a move. We run an Internet company, so location is not really an issue, as long as we have broadband, we can be anywhere.
Alan Williamson, Dumfries and Galloway

We have just started a family and would welcome the opportunity to get away from it all, as my partner has been diagnosed with Post-Natal Depression. We feel this would be perfect for us.
Mark Trevellick, Daventry, England

I would love to live on the island, provided somebody or the authorities can make arrangement for the expenses for me and my family members for migration and citizenship and settlement requirements at that place.
Jyotsna Soni, Hyderabad, India

Sheer bliss for rat ravaged bird
29 Sep 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Birds return after rats' demise
17 Aug 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Rare mice returned to island home
26 Jul 06 |  Glasgow and West
Island's cull targets brown rats
14 Jan 06 |  Scotland
Isles rats culled over bird fears
20 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Puffins win island rat war
18 Sep 02 |  Scotland

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