Thursday, November 12, 2015
Victoria's Green Matters - 12th November 2015
If you have been lucky enough to see at first hand or have only watched its antics on television, you must agree that our little seabird, the puffin, is a joy to watch. So it is very sad to hear that Atlantic puffins have been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of species in danger of becoming extinct. This puts them at the same risk as the African lion and elephant, and in more danger than the humpback whale.
While there has been a crash in Atlantic puffin numbers in Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands which together hold 80% of the European population, there have also been significant losses on Fair Isle and Shetland, though numbers are better in other places.
The birds face a long list of threats. Research has shown that puffins are particularly susceptible to changes in sea temperatures and extreme weather conditions which affect their prey species of sand eels, sprats and other small fish. Certain types of net fisheries trap puffins; invasive predators such as rats, cats and mink on islands where they nest have all contributed to this disastrous decline.
It is disturbing to think that many of our familiar wading birds are also considered to be ‘near threatened’.
Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.