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Last Updated: Friday October 28 2005 16:57 GMT

Rats killed to protect rare birds

A brown rat
Thousands of brown rats on the Scottish island of Canna will be killed by wildlife experts to protect rare seabirds in the area.

Canna is well known for rare seabirds, but the rats have taken a liking to their eggs and the local rare breed is now under threat.

Experts will set traps on the island, but before the poison can be laid, rare mammals must be removed from the area.

Three hundred Canna woodmice are being rounded up to protect them from poison.

The small and timid animals will be shipped back to the mainland where they will live in zoos for a while.

Once the poison operation is over, the mice will be brought back to the island.

Only way to protect birds

Experts say the rat cull is the only way to protect the rare bird colonies.

The poison, which will be hidden in peanut butter, will arrive on the island next week.

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