LIFE Puffinus Tavolara - Protection of the largest population of Puffinus yelkouan on Earth and containment and eradication of invasive alien species

LIFE12 NAT/IT/000416

Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version  

Contact details:

Project Manager: Valentina SECCHI
Email: vsecchi@comune.olbia.ot.it

Project description:


Predation by the black rat (Rattus rattus) is threatening the world’s largest population of Mediterranean Shearwaters (Puffinus yelkouan) – 9 991 to 13 424 pairs out of a global population of 15 337 to 30 519 pairs. On Tavolara, Shearwaters can only successfully reproduce at a reduced number of nests, located in caves in rat-free high cliffs. The same threats also affect other bird species. The presence of alien plant species (in particular Carpobrotus edulis and C. acinaciformis) on the island also threatens the conservation of habitats and species, as does the presence of a colony of wild goats. Tackling these biological threats is made more difficult by a lack of awareness among the local population of the importance of the threatened species, and of the risks associated with the introduction of alien species.


The project's objectives are:

  • Eradication of R. rattus and house mice (Mus musculus) from Tavolara and three smaller islets using rodenticide baits, which will be distributed from the air, except along the coast and in the few inhabited areas of Tavolara. The adopted method will not pose risks of environmental pollution;
  • Preparatory scientific actions (monitoring of rodents, non-target species at risk, P. yelkouan and other target species) and communication with the local community (meetings, educational activities, volunteer involvement), as well as to a wider audience (website, webcam in P. yelkouan nests, publication in journals);
  • Preliminary investigations will be carried out to assemble data, which can be provided to the competent authorities and used to inform the public. Careful monitoring will assess in detail the benefits of the project, and weigh them against any adverse effects. The eradication project will also be submitted to peer review;
  • During the eradication phase, biosecurity measures, to reduce the risk of subsequent re-invasion, will be implemented;
  • Eradication of Carpobrotus from Tavolara by manual uprooting. At present, the plant is not widespread, but it has huge potential for expansion. In order to involve the local community directly in the project, volunteers will be recruited. The project will also assess the risk of invasion by other alien plants, and will carry out eradication work if necessary;
  • Control of wild goats on Tavolara by capture and free conveyance to breeders, and the drafting of action plans for post-project management of the goat population.
  • Expected results:

  • Eradication of rodents from Tavolara and three smaller islets;
  • Young Puffinus yelkouan fledged will increase by 5 000-8 000 each year;
  • Restoration of suitable conditions for storm petrels (Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis), which are now nesting only in caves inaccessible to rats;
  • Eradication of Carpobrotus from Tavolara;
  • Establishment of bio-security measures that will be maintained after the end of the project and will reduce the risk of re-invasion to within acceptable limits;
  • Reduction by at least 40% of the wild goat population on Tavolara, reducing their impact on flora and habitats;
  • Greater awareness among the local population of the value of P. yelkouan, the impact of alien species and the need for adoption of best practices, with a consequent reduction in new introductions of alien species.



Environmental issues addressed:


Biodiversity issues - Invasive species
Species - Birds


endangered species

Target species

 Alectoris barbara   Brassica insularis   Calonectris diomedea   Centaurea horrida   Hydrobates pelagicus   Larus audouinii   Linaria flava   Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii   Phyllodactylus europaeus   Puffinus yelkouan   Sylvia sarda   Sylvia undata 

Target Habitat types

  • 8210 - Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation
  • 1510 - Mediterranean salt steppes (Limonietalia)
  • 2210 - Crucianellion maritimae fixed beach dunes
  • 2230 - Malcolmietalia dune grasslands
  • 2250 - Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.

Natura 2000 sites

SCI ITB010010 Isole Tavolara, Molara e Molarotto
SPA ITB013019 Isole del Nord - Est tra Capo Ceraso e Stagno di San Teodoro



Coordinator Comune di Olbia
Type of organisation Local authority
Description Olbia is a town of 56,231 inhabitants (2010) and covers an area of 376 square kilometres in the north east of Sardinia (Italy), in the Gallura sub-region. The territory of the municipality includes the Marine Protected Area of Tavolara (an island off Olbia) and Punta Coda Cavallo, a Site of Community Interest and a Special Protection Area.
Partners Consorzio di Gestione Area Marina Protetta Tavolara Punta Coda Cavallo, Italy NEMO Nature and Environment Management Operators Srl, Italy


Project reference LIFE12 NAT/IT/000416
Duration 01-JUL-2013 to 30-NOV -2018
Total budget 1,012,588.00 €
EU contribution 506,294.00 €
Project location Sardegna(Italia)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version