Britain’s puffins at risk because of climate change

cliffside puffins
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Puffins as well as other coastal species are under threat in Britain as erosion and climate change destroy their habitat, the country’s National Trust warned on Friday.

According to the organization, Britain’s 8,050-mile coastline is already seeing rising sea levels, with projections suggesting waters could be half a meter higher than at present by 2100.

In a bid to show how plants, animals and humans would have to live alongside “an increasing rate of environmental change”, the Trust published a list of six species or “six canaries in the mine”, referring to the birds sent down mines to reveal the presence of dangerous gases.

It said puffins, whose black back, white underparts and brightly colored beak make the birds instantly recognizable, were among those which could be “seriously affected” by unpredictable weather…

“Wildlife which relies on the gradual erosion of soft rock cliffs or lives on loose sand and shingle habitats could be caught out by an increasingly mobile landscape as a result of extremes in weather.”

Britain has been recording more hottest, coldest, wettest or driest months on record, potentially affecting costal habitats.

“Even on hard rock cliffs less affected by increased erosion, we are likely to see the boom and bust of more specialist plants and animals, as they suffer from increased flooding, salt deposition or drought stress,” Oates said…

The Trust said puffins, whose main prey is sand eel, have turned to eating snake pipefish as a result of overfishing and warming seas. Puffin chicks have occasionally been found dead, having choked trying to swallow pipefish, it said…

Growing up subsistence fishing along the southern New England coast this is the kind of warning that breaks my heart. Having fought alongside other fisherfolk, coastal residents, to turn the tide of pollution from local industry, reclaim much of coastal waters ravaged by crap and crud from uncaring corporations – I cannot look forward to the battles starting all over again…This time not only the emperors of the financial and corporate world; but, their flunkeys on a federal scale.

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