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Atlantic puffins on the rebound

Words by Smiley Team

The Atlantic puffin is a cute sea bird that called much of the north Atlantic coast home for centuries, becoming an icon for the state of Maine.

But in the 19th and 20th centuries, settlers started taking puffin eggs for food and hunting the birds for feathers and meat. Eastern Egg Rock and other islands off the coast of New England even earned their names based off of these practices. 

By 1902, there were only two mating pairs of puffins according to Friends of Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Those pairs resided on Matinicus Rock on their own until 1972, when an Audubon Society member brought puffin chicks from Newfoundland to stimulate the population.

That bump in population helped jump-start a resurgence for the bird in the region. 

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The Audubon Society’s work to restore puffin populations has been dubbed Project Puffin.

Also known as the Seabird Restoration Program, it is the first in history to restore a seabird species to an offshore island where it had been all but eliminated by humans, according to the newsletter.

“The National Audubon Society’s Project Puffin has restored more than 1,000 puffin pairs to three Maine islands,” they write. “But even more exciting, techniques developed during the project have helped to restore rare and endangered seabirds worldwide. Further, reestablished puffins now serve as a window into the effects of global warming.”

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: You can donate directly to the Audubon Puffin Project if you want to support their work. 

SUPPORT: Research the animals in your area and how you can support them. For example, in Florida, there are a lot of rules regarding manatees and how to interact with them.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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