Atlantic Puffins in Trouble

An ongoing study of Atlantic puffins in Britain has found that after four decades of increases in population, the Atlantic puffins of the North Sea island of May are in sharp decline. The population numbers have plummeted by almost a third in five years, declining from 69,300 pairs in 2003 to 41,000 pairs today.

The exact cause for this decline is not exactly known but Professor Mike Harris, who conducted the study, believes it could be climate change. The warming of the sea leads to less fish for the puffins to eat. Puffins are good indicators of the health of the ecosystem in general as they sit at the top of the food chain. An additional census study is planned for later this year on the Farne Islands, another stronghold for the birds. This data will give a better indication of the status of the puffins in Britain as a whole.


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