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Slight increase in number of puffins in Alderney

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THE number of puffins in Alderney is up by a small amount, according to the latest survey.

The Atlantic puffin is currently listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to rapid declines in European populations.

To help the colony, a puffin-friendly zone at the island of Burhou, where they breed, was created with the agreement of fisherman and conservationists earlier this year.

While puffin numbers had increased around Alderney to 176 pairs in 2011, numbers have dropped to around 100 pairs each year since the devastating 2014 storms.

‘From our survey carried out on Friday, our preliminary figure of apparently occupied burrows for this year is 101, which is similar to last year’s count of 93 breeding pairs.

'This slight increase cannot be solely attributed to the puffin friendly zone as it is the first year of its operation,' said James Spilsbury, Alderney Wildlife Trust Ramsar officer.

‘There are also other factors such as slightly differing survey times. However, we hope the population will stabilise now with potential to increase to levels found before the seabird wreck.'

Recently the island of Stormer, on the west coast of Wales, was found to be the only place in the world where puffins had been increasing in number considerably since 2014.

The puffin population in Europe decreased overall by around 34,000 following the storms in 2013/4.

Alex Warlow

By Alex Warlow
News reporter

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