In spring and summer, visitors flock to Northern Ireland’s Rathlin Island to catch a glimpse of the bright-billed Atlantic puffins that stop there to breed. But in recent years, the island’s puffin population has plummeted, largely due to invasive ferrets and rats preying upon them. To protect the Atlantic puffins (Fratercula arctica), whose global population is threatened with extinction, conservation experts took bold measures: they used puffin decoys and sound recordings to lure the seabirds to the nearby Copeland Islands. Puffins have not historically nested on the Copeland Islands, but this location has a clear advantage: it’s free of invasive species. So far, the plan seems to be working, as puffins have started to breed on the islands. Predation by invasive species is just one threat that Atlantic puffins have to deal with. As climate change alters both the marine and terrestrial ecosystems that puffins depend upon, the species faces extreme weather and a decrease in food sources. And things are set to get even worse. New research suggests that puffins will lose about 70% of their nesting grounds by the end of the century due to the impacts of climate change, making it necessary to enact conservation measures, such as encouraging them to relocate to more suitable habitats. A group of puffins on a cliff on the Farne Islands. Image © Seppo Häkkinen. A colony of seabirds off the coast of the Farne Islands. Image © Seppo Häkkinen. In a recently published report, researchers from the Zoological Society of…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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