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Eight puffins left at Plemont
Puffins
There are just eight puffins left at the colony in Plemont

Jersey's north coast is home to a very small colony of Puffins.

Work to preserve and protect the bright-billed sea bird in a conservation zone on the coast has been going on all year

But it's been revealed the colony which used to number more than 100 has shrunk to just eight birds.

Nic Jouault, of the Marine Section of the study group at the Societe Jersiaise, has been involved in efforts to protect the bird.

Nic told BBC Jersey the puffins' struggle for survival is made harder because of the rat population in the area.

"This is a very important issue and one of the major concerns is the rat population, as far as I know it's a problem they feel unable to solve.

"The problems facing the puffins are a number of issues, it's the same with the other islands in Sark and Alderney itself.

Puffin
There is a need for control of predatory mammals such as rats and cats outside the holiday village site and that could be implemented.
Paul Harding

"With the warming winters it's a problem that is only going to increase and I've seen it myself on the coastline there is a major problem with rats," said Nic.

Nic told BBC Jersey that the population has dwindled to a point where you now only have a handful of birds left as they're no longer breeding.

"They've dwindled over the years and on our part we should have acted sooner rather than later.

"The population is probably not breeding at the moment and it is the same issues as the common turns on the Ecrehous, all these species are struggling to survive with humans impacting on them.

"If you've only got a handful of birds, and there is no sign of them breeding in the last year, if they're not breeding they're not going to be replaced.

"They've dwindled to this amount of numbers so I'm afraid to say that's it," said Nic.

Paul Harding is the architect for the company which has plans for new homes the site of the former Pontin's Holiday Camp which is close to where the puffins live at Plemont.

He told BBC Jersey about a report on the area that includes a plan to get rid of the rats.

"The Durrell report includes provisions for dealing with the rats on the holiday village site before any works commence.

"There will be a program of removing the rats before the demolition.

Puffin
There are proposals that could see the population enhanced

"What has to be understood is that the problem isn't limited to the holiday village site itself, it is more island wide.

"We all know the extent of rats living in fields and within the countryside and the puffin report makes it very clear that this threat from the rats isn't confined to the holiday village.

"The puffins have been co-existing, not withstanding those threats, with rats in the wider countryside," said Paul.

Paul explained that the current proposals for the site will see two thirds of the site dedicated to nature alongside the 30 houses.

And Paul said this will enable a proposal by Durrell to enhance the population of puffins in the island to be put in place.

"There is a need for control of predatory mammals such as rats and cats outside the holiday village site and that could be implemented.

"And the transportation of puffin chicks to another site from the headland will enhance the species status in the island.

"Which can all be funded by realisation of the current application for Plemont Holiday Village," said Paul.




SEE ALSO
Trust makes 'land not homes' plea
09 Dec 09 |  Jersey


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