Originally, 18th century pirates were responsible for the spread of the cunning brown rat. Not only did pirates pillage from local people around the coast, but they unintentionally transported rats from far abroad. The little stowaways jumped overboard during storms when ships were wrecked around the coast.
This has put seabirds in danger. Brown rats steal their eggs and kill their chicks. Now, rat eradication to 'save the seabirds' has begun in earnest. A project aimed at protecting internationally important seabird populations on two of the Isles of Scilly by killing more than 3,000 brown rats, is under way. A period of intensive baiting started yesterday and most of the rats will be dead by the end of November. All the bait stations are enclosed, tied down and designed not to kill any other species, such as rabbits.
I love the old stories of pirates in the days of old. All my books are set in Cornwall. The present-day Moonstone Series, and the futuristic Higher Ground series.
Here's a very short excerpt from Still Rock Water, the first of the Moonstone series:
“You have quite a lot of history tied up in the ring.” Yvonne took a closer look. “There was plenty of smuggling in the area back then.”
“Pirates too,” William said. “It could have turned up with a hoard of treasure from one of the wrecks along the coast."
"Pirates," Raymond said. "I've heard the tales. They ransack settlements wherever they land and grab what they can."
"When they're sober," Eric said, "the badgers might send a group to explore the area."
"Or they might sail off," Ginny said, "to a distant land if you two would stop speaking so loud."
"Not much chance," Eric murmured. "Look."
On the horizon, another craft had left the mother ship and headed for the shore. Rowers dipped their oars on either side. Could the strangers see them from such a distance?
"Hide," Raymond whispered.
"No good." Eric ducked anyway. "They've seen us."