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The Shiant Islands

Seabird Recovery Project

The project was a partnership between the Nicolson family, RSPB Scotland, and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). The four year project began in autumn 2014 with the aim of removing the black rat population to protect the existing seabird colonies and subsequently to encourage Manx shearwaters and storm petrels to colonise the islands.

A challenging terrain

These islands are uninhabited by humans but are an internationally important breeding site for hundreds of thousands of seabirds.

152,000 seabirds

However, a population of invasive non-native black rats had become established on the Shiants following their accidental introduction several hundred years ago. Research found that the rats were feeding on seabird eggs and chicks and it is likely that rat presence was preventing other seabird species such as storm petrels from colonising the islands.

Further information

Funding was provided by the European LIFE fund LIFE13/NAT/UK/000209 LIFE+ SHIANTS, SNH and RSPB. More info at:RSPB Scotland, Etive House, Beechwood Park, Inverness, IV2 3BWTel: 01463 715000,


ScottishNatural Heritage Western Isles Office: 32 Francis Street, Stornoway, HS1 2NDTel: 01851 705258