Islands MSP sees first hand the fruits of Shiants recovery

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan recently visited the Shiant Isles to see the results of the recovery project.
Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan recently visited the Shiant Isles to see the results of the recovery project.

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan recently visited the Shiant Isles to see for himself the work that has been done to improve conditions for nesting seabirds.

The Shiant Isles are one of the most important breeding colonies for seabirds in Europe and play host to one of Britain’s largest puffin colonies.

Alasdair Allan MSP with Charlie Main and Thomas Quinn of RSPB Scotland.

Alasdair Allan MSP with Charlie Main and Thomas Quinn of RSPB Scotland.

The visit was organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland.

During the trip the islands MSP was shown the effects of the Shiant Isles Recovery Project, which had aimed to make the islands a safe place for nesting seabirds by eliminating the invasive, non-native black rats found on the islands.

The Shiants were officially declared rat-free earlier this year.

Alasdair Allan is the Species Champion for the Manx Shearwater, one of the species of seabirds which is being encouraged to nest on the Shiant Isles.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said: “The Shiants are a spectacular place, and an important part of both the natural and cultural heritage of the Western Isles.

“The work which the RSPB, volunteers, Scottish and European agencies have done together to enhance the three islands is to be applauded.

“As I got a chance to see for myself when I visited the Shiants, work has been successfully completed to remove black rats from the islands, which has allowed the population of a number of species of seabirds to recover.

“The Shiants are of increasing importance to the visitor economy in Harris too, and so the work that has been done will also have an economic impact.”