Puffins are under threat…

Puffins are one of our most iconic seabirds, but they have suffered a rapid decline in numbers across much of Europe in recent years.

Rising sea temperatures, unsustainable fishing and marine pollution have all taken their toll on this much-loved species.

Whilst most of us aren’t lucky enough to see puffins on a regular basis, our every day actions could be contributing to their decline.


In 2015, puffins were
added to the list of
vulnerable species…

How to help puffins

Only buy sustainably-caught fish

Food availability is one of the major issues affecting puffins. Whilst our warming climate is causing shifts in the distribution of the fish that puffins feed on, unsustainable fishing is also reducing the food available to puffins. By ensuring that you only ever buy seafood that has been sustainably caught, you can ensure that your fish supper is not causing negative impacts to this iconic seabird.

Stop using single-use plastics

It is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in our seas than fish. Puffins, as with many other seabirds, have been seen feeding their chicks with pieces of plastic, believing it to be food. One way to lessen your impact on puffins and many other species is to stop using single-use plastics such as straws, plastic bottles and carrier bags. If you want to go one step further, you could even organise a clean-up of your local beach..

Reduce your carbon footprint

Warming seas due to climate change has resulted in a shift in the distribution of the cold-water fish that puffins feed on. This has meant that the number of chicks that are successfully fledging from nests has declined. If we are to tackle global climate change, we must all do our bit by reducing our carbon footprint. There are many things that each of us can do – from car sharing and holidaying closer to home, to tree planting and switching to a green energy supplier.

Join the Scottish Wildlife Trust

Becoming a member of the Trust means that you’ll be helping to support the work we do to conserve puffins and a whole host of other iconic Scottish species. You’ll also gain free entry to our visitor centres, be sent our wildlife magazine and receive invitations and discounts to events across the country.

The UK is home to
10% of the world’s
population of
Atlantic puffins

What is the Scottish Wildlife Trust doing to help puffins?

Since the 1990s, the Trust has been monitoring and protecting the puffin colony on Handa Island Wildlife Reserve which is owned by Scourie Estate and managed in partnership with the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The Trust has helped to monitor seabird numbers, organise beach cleans to remove potentially harmful litter, and even managed to eradicate brown rats from the island in 1997. Unfortunately, rats returned several years later and they continue to be a threat to the island’s seabirds today. Given that puffins nest underground at the top of cliffs, they are particularly vulnerable to ground predators, so we continue to closely monitor the areas of the island effected by rats.

The Trust’s Living Seas work focuses on improving the protection of our marine environment and engaging people with it. With the future of puffins directly linked to the health of our seas, we try to influence at the very top levels, campaigning for new Marine Protected Areas and promoting the sustainable use of our seas.

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