Animal Aid

LUNDY RATS - Undercover investigation

Posted 1 April 2003
Bait trap with poison uncovered - there should be a lid over the top. Also, slugs in vicinity of poison showing other creatures are able to get into the traps.

An undercover investigation has put the notorious Lundy foursome to shame over their conduct of the rat eradication programme on Lundy Island.

The so-called 'Lundy Seabird Recovery Project' consists of English Nature, the Landmark Trust, the National Trust and the RSPB, and their aim was to make the island rat-free by Easter. However, this does not seem to be happening.

So far only four rat carcasses have been found - this is by the foursome's own admission! This means that either the rest of the rats have not been killed, or they are dying underground. The latter is highly unlikely as it is a rat's instinct to die in the open.

There may still be time to save the Lundy ship rat!

A suspicious 'water trap' that was found on the island. Poison bait was placed on a rotating pole above a dustbin filled with water, causing any animal which ventured up there to fall in & drown. It is not known whether this was planted by the Seabird Recovery Project.

The undercover investigation revealed:

  • Unmarked poison bait tubes - visitors would not have been aware what they were.

  • Poison exposed - it was supposed to be covered over with a 'lid'.

  • Inadequate precautions taken to prevent poison exposure to non-target species. There was meant to be a wire fitted to the end of the tube to stop larger animals from entering - however this was not the case in 50% of traps.

  • Livestock (sheep & chickens) grazing in immediate vicinity to exposed poison.

  • A rotting rabbit carcass - the coalition claim that their teams are regularly clearing away dead animals.

  • A water trap. This consisted of a water-filled dustbin, above which was a baited rotating pole. When the animal climbed the pole they would slip into the water and drown. It is not known whether the Project was responsible for this, but if not, they should have destroyed it as it is not in line with the eradication programme.

Sheep grazing immediately next to loaded bait trap - these sheep are used for 'Lundy lamb' and therefore poison could potentially enter the food chain.

The Project claimed that the 'cull' would be conducted with the utmost care and professionalism - this clearly is not the case.

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