A tiny, remote island, (approx. 520 acres
), just off the North-West coast of Scotland
. Achieved notoriety
during World War II
scientists released anthrax bacteria
on the island to test its effect on the flock
The sheep were tethered in pens and a small bomb was used to disperse anthrax spores. The sheep started to die several days later and the island became so contaminated that it was declared "off-limits" for nearly 50 years.
Several attempts were made at cleaning up the island, to little effect. Eventually, in 1986, the British government contracted a specialised firm to undertake another clean-up effort. The removal of topsoil, in conjunction with spraying the island with a mixture of formaldehyde and sea water, apparently cleared the island of anthrax contamination. A new flock of sheep were transferred to Gruinard and oberved for almost four years before the island was declared "safe".