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Wildlife wins on Bardsey Island

Gareth Roberts Farming on the island of Bardsey has entered a new era with the island’s wildlife firmly at the forefront.

In a new development that ensures the island is farmed effectively for its wildlife, RSPB Cymru has become the farming tenant and will work with the Bardsey Island Trust in a new working relationship to provide support and advice on the best way to maintain habitats for birds and other resident wildlife.

The island - just off the Llyn Peninsula - is owned by the Bardsey Island Trust and has been farmed by a series of tenant farmers in recent years, trying to make their living from this beautiful but isolated farm.

RSPB Cymru is now working with local farmer Gareth Roberts who will farm the island and carry out practical land management. Gareth said: ‘ I’m looking forward to the opportunity to make a difference on the island’.

Chough, Bardsey Island, July 2009The Countryside Council for Wales,which works closely with RSPB Cymru, has designated the island as a National Nature Reserve.It provides vital habitat for a range of wildlife including key Welsh bird species such as chough – the rarest member of the crow family. Wales is particularly important for chough, with around three quarters of the UK’s population living here.

Manx shearwaters are also important nesting birds on the island. More than half the World’s population of Manx shearwaters can be found in Wales, with up to 16,000 pairs on Bardsey Island at the height of the breeding season.

Chough, Bardsey Island, July 2009The Porters are a family from Conwy, North Wales who have been living and working on Ynys Enlli since October 2007.

They look after the island farm which consists of 400 Welsh mountain sheep, 20-30 Welsh Black cattle and various poultry, as well as managing the land. Jo Porter also works for the RSPB monitoring aspects of the island's ecology, mainly the vegetation.