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Read by Charley and Dave

Whether you are working on a global or local scale for conservation, one of the best techniques is to set aside protected areas. These are locations where human activity is regulated or even banned to limit or eradicate its impact on wildlife. There are many benefits to protected areas such as:

  • Habitats are protected from destruction
  • Wildlife can live naturally with minimal disturbance from humans
Burhou is in fact a protected area, being closed to public use from 15th March to 1st August to protect the breeding birds

Burhou is in fact a protected area, being closed to public use from 15th March to 1st August to protect the breeding birds

  • Efforts targeted in protected areas can eradicate, or at least greatly reduce, invasive species
The conservation volunteers remove the invasive Hottentot Fig

The conservation volunteers remove the invasive Hottentot Fig

  • Activities, such as fishing, can be limited or stopped to increase food availability to wildlife
  • Protected areas can be linked together to protect species that migrate
  • These areas can be set up to include some tourism so people can truly appreciate nature
Tourists really enjoy being able to go on boat trips to see puffins in our Ramsar site

Tourists really enjoy being able to go on boat trips to see puffins in our Ramsar site

Protected areas can conserve whole ecosystems, rather than just a single species, so there are even greater benefits to wildlife as a whole. The AWT hopes to upgrade its Ramsar site into a Marine Protected Area (MPA) to reap some of these benefits for our seabirds and other coastal wildlife. This is a process that could take many years, but steps to this can be made every year. By assigning an MPA we can increase protection to our seabirds by preserving the fish populations they depend on and limiting other activities around our coast.

Oystercatchers and curlews use coastal areas to feed

Oystercatchers and curlews use coastal areas to feed

Protection of ecosystems is imperative not just for the conservation of wildlife but for the welfare of our future as well, and we are proud to be working to achieve this protection. We hope that you will join in and try to protect some wildlife in your future.

ECOLOGIST'S UPDATE

In previous posts I have told you about the problems rats can cause to breeding birds and of Nicci's work detecting their presence. We are now starting to gather in some results from Nicci's work; Burhou, Little Burhou and Coque Lihou are thankfully rat free and we aim to keep them that way.

However, rats have been detected in areas on mainland Alderney or on rock stacks connected to Alderney at low tide. These areas include a rock stack with a grass verge called Hannaine. This area is connected to Alderney at low tide and puffins have previously tried to nest there. So trying to control or remove rats from Hannaine will now become a conservation target for next years breeding season.

Rat chew marks found on Hannaine (the big mark is a rat, the smaller ones may be mice or shrews)

Rat chew marks found on Hannaine (the big mark is a rat, the smaller ones may be mice or shrews)

The other location Nicci has confirmed rat presence is near the ringed plover nests. Luckily we know that these nests are still doing well this year, but rats in the vicinity is a concern and something we will look at for conservation measures in the future.