News archive

February 2015

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Over the Seas and Far Away

Over the Seas and Far Away

Sarah Havery works for the part of the RSPB that deals with the UK Overseas Territories (UKOT). There are 14 of them, ranging from Gibraltar to the rat-ridden Henderson Island and its seabirds.

Clare Stringer, head of UKOT, was scheduled to come and talk to us but plans had to be changed as she is now on maternity leave! Sarah Havery volunteered to come even though she has only been with the Unit since last November. She proved to be an excellent substitute, having wide-ranging experience, including hands-on work on various islands.

Most of the Overseas Territories are islands where removing harmful invasive creatures (rats, feral cats etc.) is a possibility but by no means an easy task, requiring detailed surveys, years of monitoring and bio-security. A rat can swim two kilometres! The involvement of local governments and residents is essential.

The reward is seeing the first breeding successes of critically endangered species such as the Tristan Albatross and we were rewarded by some beautiful images. A striking photo was that of the spiky yellow woodlouse. This is one of the rarest invertebrates in the world found only in a rare habitat on St. Helena - restoration of habitat is crucial in so many cases with benefits for many species, bugs, birds and plants.

If you would like more details about the UKOT projects that the RSPB is engaged in, click on the link below (or type in ).

Sarah answered the many questions we had for nearly an hour before we let her head back up the M11 to Cambridge. An enthusiastic audience definitely felt that here was the subject for a TV wildlife documentary with breath-taking scenery, dedicated staff and volunteers plus wonderful birds!

If you click on the 'Download file' link, then you will see the striking poster that David (our Publicity officer) produced to advertise this talk.

Download file