Page last updated at 00:58 GMT, Saturday, 7 June 2008 01:58 UK

Rat free declaration for island

Rat
Rats were brought to the islands by sailors 100 years ago

The Hebridean island of Canna is due to be officially declared rat free.

The National Trust for Scotland's island property is home to an internationally-important seabird colony.

Rats have been blamed for eating the eggs and chicks of ground-nesting seabirds, seriously affecting their population.

The declaration will be made by Environment Minister Mike Russell during a visit.

His trip to the island, which lies south of Skye, coincides with the end of the conservation charity's three-year programme to eradicate rats from the island.

Pest controllers from New Zealand were brought in to deal with thousands of rats, using poison and traps.

The rats first arrived on the island on ships about 100 years ago and had been feeding on seabirds' eggs.

The rodents also posed a threat to the island's rare wood mice, 130 of which were transferred to Edinburgh Zoo before the cull.


SEE ALSO
Island's rat population wiped out
03 Apr 06 |  Scotland
Island's cull targets brown rats
14 Jan 06 |  Scotland
Isles rats culled over bird fears
20 Sep 05 |  Scotland

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