The Scottish islands of St Kilda were evacuated of human inhabitants in 1930, due to a decline in local industries and the lure of life on the mainland. People left behind their cats, who found it hard to survive there, especially in the winter. The remaining cats were shot in 1931, to protect the islands’ birds and mice.
Today, St Kilda is a World Heritage site and nature reserve operated by the National Trust for Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. The St Kilda field mouse is found nowhere else in the world. It’s nearly double the size of its mainland cousin and lives in the shelter of abandoned stone walls and croft houses – volunteers attending the annual working parties on the island report living in very close proximity to these cute little (well, actually not so little) friends.