Unwise To Hunt Puffins This Year - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Unwise To Hunt Puffins This Year

Published July 15, 2015

Photos by
Ragna Ó. Guðmundsdóttir/Guðmundur R. Guðmundssson

Puffin populations have shrank so much that even a 3-day hunting season is “unwise”, says an ornithologist for the South Iceland Nature Research Centre.

RÚV reports that ornithologist Erpur Snær Hansen has made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that hunting puffins for even a brief period of time can be very damaging for current puffin populations, which have been shrinking over the past 12 years.

“Our advise is very clear,” he told reporters. “It is unwise to hunt puffins right now. We’ve been telling people for a long time now what the state of the puffin population is. It isn’t good. There needs to be a lot more respect for this. … Our advice is to just stop the hunting altogether.”

As reported, the current state of the puffin population is due to a cyclical “warming up period” that happens around Iceland every 70 years or so.

“This decreases herring populations, which is the main source of food for puffins,” Erpur explained at the time. “We are experiencing one of these warming-up periods now, in addition to temperature changes in the sea caused by human activity. But the oceans should cool again by 2030, so it’s a question of whether the puffin can hang in there until then.”

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