From John Kelly, LIFE Raft Programme Manager
What a wet month October was! And then November started with Storm Ciarán rolling in, causing disruption and severe flooding across the UK and Ireland. Thankfully, Rathlin only got a glancing blow.
Despite the weather chaos, our team and the community have been able to keep going that extra mile. As the Programme Manager, it is inspiring to see such island-wide dedication to making Rathlin a secure home for nature and a place the community will continue to thrive.
You may recall that we started activating our traps in October. As of today, we have 485 traps placed across the island to ensure we can succeed in our mission. The team have now checked and reset the entire network more than 1,800 times. It is impressive work from everyone.
All this effort is paying off. So far, the LIFE Raft team has trapped 51 ferrets, bringing Rathlin ever closer to a brighter future.
We can expect catching rates to fluctuate over the coming weeks. With the wet weather carrying on longer than we all want, we are predicting a slowdown in numbers. This gives us time to adapt our approach. We’re talking with the Rathlin community so we can make the most of their local knowledge on ferret hotspots, and we’re also working with other experts from the UK, Ireland and further afield. We always knew that the world’s first ferret eradication project would require a flexible approach, and this is all valuable learning.
While all this important and hard conservation work continues, LIFE Raft must look to the future and plan for the rat eradication project. Later this week, I will post an advert to search for someone to support the rat eradication project. We will share this on the Rathlin360 website as well as the RSPB website.
As I close this blog, I want to thank the team and the community. Gratitude and pride in your efforts and support is something hard to capture in words – but please know that they are deeply felt.
Best wishes for now,