LIFE Raft Project

October highlights from LIFE Raft

Monday 6/11/23

What has the team been up to this month? Check out some of the team’s highlights (there’s quite the range – from installing another kilometre of safety cable, to science reports, to carving pumpkins!):

John Kelly, Senior Programme Manager

  • After so much hard work by so many people, the ferret eradication project started.
  • Receiving the first draft report from James Crymble, Richard Else and Gillian Gilbert outlining the results from their summer fieldwork. This reminded me why the LIFE Raft project is needed now more than ever. We will share the results very soon.
  • Seeing the LIFE Raft team working so hard during tough conditions for a better future for Rathlin Island.

Michael Rafferty, Ferret Trapping Co-ordinator

  • Seeing the trapping team accomplish the trap checks effectively through the rough weather.
  • Team catch-up after a busy period.
  • The stabilising of the trap sensors. Just one of the many troubleshooting tasks required in an eradication project.
Views from Rathlin

Views from Rathlin. Pic: Kevin Rutherford, Climber.

Fionbharr Butler, Ferret Trapper

  • Team dinner and catch-up.
  • Getting some of the long-awaited permissions we need in place.

Ulf Keller, Ferret Trapper

  • Trap network starting to run smoothly.
  • Seeing Short-Eared Owls on multiple occasions.
  • Getting new wet kit to tackle the weather.

Stuart Johnston, LIFE Raft Rope Access Specialist and CEO of Climbwired International Ltd

  • A further 1,050 metres of safety cable installed (with a total of 3.5 km now in place).
  • A very happy safety line installation team.
  • Dangling in places very few people dare to venture.

The climbing team putting in traverse lines. Pic: Kevin Rutherford, Climber.

Irene Sabiniarz, Support Specialist

  • Finding out we are getting a detection dog, and what a gorgeous-looking pup she is to.
  • Arriving on Rathlin to give the guys a hand with behind-the-scenes work.
  • How creative the children are with their pumpkin carving at our Halloween event – great work guys! (You can read more in Kirsty’s blog).
  • The sun coming out after a week of rain.

Anna Feeney, Communications Manager

  • Learning about the innovative potential plans for Rathlin Island from David Quinney Mee with the RDCA.
  • Meeting more business leaders on island.
  • Seeing some of the many migratory Fieldfares who have arrived on island, and a gorgeous little Goldcrest.

Charlie Bosanquet, Community Engagement Officer

  • Pumpkin carving with Irene and the friends and residents of Rathlin in the polytunnel behind the Manor House.
  • Seeing Kay’s handy work at making more knitted rats – a great engagement tool.
  • Having a good chat over a meal in the Manor House with Stuart of the climbing team.

Kirsty Benton, Community Engagement Officer

  • Great community interest when the ferret trapping started.
  • Amazing response to naming of the detection dog – 135 people suggested names.

Knitted ferrets and rats from islander Kay. Pic: Charlie, Community Engagement Officer


LIFE Raft is a partnership between RSPB NI; Rathlin Development and Community Association; Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council; National Parks and Wildlife Service; Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust; and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
This project is funded by EU LIFE [LIFE20 NAT/UK/000349]; National Lottery Heritage Fund; and DAERA.