28 May 2019
The number of seabirds on an island in the Bristol Channel has soared following the eradication of rats, conservationists have revealed.
There has been a boost in the numbers of Manx shearwater, puffins and guillemots on Lundy Island 15 years after a project to remove rats ended.
The RSPB said the number of seabirds on the island, off Devon, had tripled to 21,000.
The charity said the recovery had "far exceeded our expectations".
Helen Booker, senior conservation officer for RSPB, said: "This study clearly shows how quickly and positively seabirds respond to the removal of non-native predators.
"Of course, we had anticipated major population increases when the project was launched, but the scale of this recovery has far exceeded our expectations."
The project was launched in 2003 by Natural England, the Landmark Trust, the National Trust and RSPB, and aimed to eradicate the rats because they posed the biggest threat to the survival of the birds.