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Puffins to be tagged in bid to save Scotland's seabirds

The country is home to more than three-quarters of the UK's puffin population.

Puffins: Climate change threatens species (file pic).
Puffins: Climate change threatens species (file pic). VisitScotland

Wildlife conservationists hope to save Scotland's endangered puffin population by learning more about the species as it struggles with climate change.

Scotland is home to more than three-quarters of the UK's puffins, with large breeding populations in Shetland, Orkney and St Kilda.

Experts believe their numbers could plunge almost 80% by 2065 as warming seas affect the food sources they rely on.

Later this year, RSPB Scotland will tag 31 birds from two Scottish populations with the intention of finding out where parent puffins go to feed their chicks and what conditions they need to breed.

Ellie Owen, who leads on the RSPB's seabird tracking work in the UK, said: "Puffins are wonderful birds that are in desperate need of help to ensure the long-term survival of the species here.

"Across the country there is great affection for these birds and this project will give people the chance to get involved with the work being done to save them.

"In the future, we expect the project data will advise government on the best ways to protect puffins at sea."

https://stv.tv/news/highlands-islands/236961-national-trust-st-kilda-puffin-colony-could-face-decline/ | default

Ms Owen added: "It's devastating to think that our coastlines may no longer be brightened up by these birds coming into land furiously flapping their wings with their orange legs outstretched.

"RSPB Scotland is doing all it can to conserve this species and this project is crucial to our ongoing effort to turn puffin fortunes around."

The project is being supported by a £49,800 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

On Wednesday, the Scottish Government announced plans to create an £8m fund to restore peatlands and reduce carbon emissions.

The government says the money will help it deliver on a pledge to restore 250,000 hectares of peatlands by 2032.

https://stv.tv/news/highlands-islands/1375026-st-kilda-s-kittiwake-population-plunges-to-lowest-level-ever/ | default

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