The puffin species are in trouble, but the Welsh-bred birds are doing just fine, study confirms

It’s been revealed that European puffin populations have been listed as vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species last month. The shifts in the ocean as a result of climate change are being highlighted as a significant threat in the recent listing.A group of Atlantic Puffins standing on a rock just south of Lyons Holiday ParksEuropean populations of Atlantic puffins, particularly those that breed in and around Norway and Iceland, are suffering decline. That’s a striking contrast to the status of Atlantic puffins that breed on Skomer Island, off the coast of Pembrokeshire, here in Wales, as they are doing just fine. Iceland and Norway, who are both located farther north than our North Wales holiday parks, and the wildlife that thrives around our nature-rich country, are home to 80% of Europe’s puffin populations. Those populations have, unfortunately, “declined markedly since the early 2000s,” according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The team of experts used geolocators last year and collected the data to help them to determine what the birds were up to. The scientists found that some Welsh-breeding puffins go all the way to Newfoundland during winter. Others opt for a staycation and stay around the shores of the UK, and many head to the Mediterranean. “Some of these birds cover absolutely huge distances,” said one of the team behind the study, “and that was quite surprising.” Knowing where the puffins spend the winter could help scientists work out other factors as to why some populations thrive while others don’t.

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