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Conservation Programmes on Caldey Island

  Several years ago Caldey began an exciting project to preserve and enhance the island as a much-needed wildlife conservation area.  With the help of wildlife experts, we have completed many aspects of improving the structure of the island so that wildlife will thrive.

Several years ago Caldey began an exciting project to preserve and enhance the island as a much-needed wildlife conservation area.  With the help of wildlife experts, we have completed many aspects of improving the structure of the island so that wildlife will thrive.

  Rat eradication: The aim of this project has been to allow the natural wildlife of an island habitat to increase, and it has been estimated that within five years of a rat-free environment, Caldey’s natural wildlife will increase by 400%.  For example, ground-nesting birds such as puffins may be attracted and our aim is to re-establish a colony of puffins on Caldey, and increase the numbers of puffins on St Margaret’s island.

Rat eradication:
The aim of this project has been to allow the natural wildlife of an island habitat to increase, and it has been estimated that within five years of a rat-free environment, Caldey’s natural wildlife will increase by 400%.  For example, ground-nesting birds such as puffins may be attracted and our aim is to re-establish a colony of puffins on Caldey, and increase the numbers of puffins on St Margaret’s island.

  Other species such as hedgehogs will also thrive without the presence of rats. We are indebted to Simon Walters of West Wales Wildlife & Pest Control, (westwalespestcontrol.co.uk) and his keen team for all their work in ensuring that Caldey is now 100% rat-free.   

Other species such as hedgehogs will also thrive without the presence of rats.
We are indebted to Simon Walters of West Wales Wildlife & Pest Control, (westwalespestcontrol.co.uk) and his keen team for all their work in ensuring that Caldey is now 100% rat-free.

 

  Red Squirrels: Three red squirrels arrived on the island in 2016 after an extensive programme of rat eradication, and then a further 12 were added last year.  The island is following a greatly-researched, closely-monitored and supplemented conservation programme, where the health and happiness of the squirrels is paramount. The aim is for the reds to live in natural habitat with no competition from grey squirrels, which is a rare thing in the UK.  The squirrels' welfare is continually assessed, and so far they are enjoying their surroundings, building dreys, finding food, exploring the island, and raising young.  We are delighted to have spotted at least eight kits in three different groups this summer and we know that they are spreading out from where they were first established.  The squirrels are being fed hazelnuts and cuttlefish via 22 feeders (with the first year’s feed sponsored by Tenby Lions). The feeders are checked daily and topped up when empty.  The feeding stations also allow us to film the squirrels’ feeding habits which is valuable information for us.  The island is now planting further areas of native trees to provide more food for the squirrels in the future.  Management of the gene-pool began by introducing squirrels from different stocks, and will continue by movement of squirrels within conservation projects in the UK. The introduction was made possible with the expertise and advice of wildlife expert Dr. Nick Fox of International Wildlife Consultants near St. Clears. We are also very grateful to Tenby Lions, and to Simon Hart, MP.   

Red Squirrels:
Three red squirrels arrived on the island in 2016 after an extensive programme of rat eradication, and then a further 12 were added last year.  The island is following a greatly-researched, closely-monitored and supplemented conservation programme, where the health and happiness of the squirrels is paramount. The aim is for the reds to live in natural habitat with no competition from grey squirrels, which is a rare thing in the UK.  The squirrels' welfare is continually assessed, and so far they are enjoying their surroundings, building dreys, finding food, exploring the island, and raising young.
 We are delighted to have spotted at least eight kits in three different groups this summer and we know that they are spreading out from where they were first established. 
The squirrels are being fed hazelnuts and cuttlefish via 22 feeders (with the first year’s feed sponsored by Tenby Lions). The feeders are checked daily and topped up when empty.  The feeding stations also allow us to film the squirrels’ feeding habits which is valuable information for us.  The island is now planting further areas of native trees to provide more food for the squirrels in the future.
 Management of the gene-pool began by introducing squirrels from different stocks, and will continue by movement of squirrels within conservation projects in the UK.
The introduction was made possible with the expertise and advice of wildlife expert Dr. Nick Fox of International Wildlife Consultants near St. Clears.
We are also very grateful to Tenby Lions, and to Simon Hart, MP.

 

  Butterflies and Moths: Caldey Island is working together with ‘Butterfly Conservation’ (butterfly-conservation.org) to develop the island’s unique mix of woods, coastline and pastures to ensure an improved habitat for butterflies and moths. We’ll soon be undertaking a programme to count and identify our resident moths and butterflies, as well as many of those varieties that use us as a staging post during their migrations (e.g. 2018 saw several humming-bird hawk-moths visiting us for the summer).    Photo of a Comma courtesy of Bob Eade & Butterfly Conservation.    

Butterflies and Moths:
Caldey Island is working together with ‘Butterfly Conservation’ (butterfly-conservation.org) to develop the island’s unique mix of woods, coastline and pastures to ensure an improved habitat for butterflies and moths. We’ll soon be undertaking a programme to count and identify our resident moths and butterflies, as well as many of those varieties that use us as a staging post during their migrations (e.g. 2018 saw several humming-bird hawk-moths visiting us for the summer).

Photo of a Comma courtesy of Bob Eade & Butterfly Conservation.

 

  This project will be led by Russel Hobson, Head of Conservation for Wales and his team of butterfly and moth experts, who will be commencing the very early stages of the butterfly count in 2018 and then over 2019, with the moth count taking place over a lengthy period in 2019. (The previous count for moths here occurred in 1920, so this will provide an invaluable set of comparative statistics 100 years later !).    Photo of a Small Tortoiseshell courtesy of Mark Searle & Butterfly Conservation

This project will be led by Russel Hobson, Head of Conservation for Wales and his team of butterfly and moth experts, who will be commencing the very early stages of the butterfly count in 2018 and then over 2019, with the moth count taking place over a lengthy period in 2019. (The previous count for moths here occurred in 1920, so this will provide an invaluable set of comparative statistics 100 years later !).

Photo of a Small Tortoiseshell courtesy of Mark Searle & Butterfly Conservation

Other successful introductions:
We have recently introduced several species to the island, such as Black Swans, English and French Partridges, and Golden Pheasants.  All seem to be happy and thriving.  Other species, such as the Woodcock which is on the RSPB UK Conservation Status Red List, and Peregrine Falcons, have also made a home here.