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  1. ITV Report

Breed of puffin iconic to Jersey is near extinction

Atlantic Puffins Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A breed of puffin that is iconic to Jersey is in drastic decline and soon to be extinct, according to an academic.

Kaja Heising from the Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, published a paper online on Saturday detailing the sharp decline of the Atlantic Puffin.

The breed found in the Channel Islands is one of the southernmost populations, coming to the islands around April and leaving in July.

The islands play an important part in the puffin's life-cycle, who lay one egg per year here, then return when they hatch.

Atlantic Puffins Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Kaja Heising writes the population has decreased from 200-300 pairs on Jersey during 1911-1914, to only 22 pairs in 1998.

Now she suspects there could be "as few as two individuals at the time of writing."

The reasons for the puffin’s decline on Jersey are not completely understood, according to Kaja Heising, but she posits the introduction of predators such as rats and cats is a potential reason.

Atlantic Puffins Credit: Owen Humphreys / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Human disturbance such as tourism and boat-traffic at breeding sites is another possible cause.

In order to combat the decline in the Channel Islands, Kaja Heising believes more efforts should be put into conservation.

Effort should be put into the puffins’ conservation throughout the Channel Islands, to prevent the same fate on the other islands as is happening on Jersey, where the puffin will, sadly, be extinct soon.

– Kaja Heising