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Puffins at the National Aquarium Puffins in human - care provide information that benefit their wild counterparts as well as ensure a genetically diverse population in the event there is catastrophic decline or extirpation. The National Aquarium has been able to contribute to data collection and research projects that directly benefit wild populations. For example, in 2014, the Aquarium ’ s puffins were able to participate in a test fitting of newly minted ‘ puffin - sized' Global Posi- tion System (GPS) tags. These tags needed to be worn by animals to ensure they were not going to obstruct natural behaviors. Several agencies devel- oped the procedures and in conjunction with the Aquarium ’ s own team of aviculturists, the animals in - care were able to safely wear the tags. These tests were instrumental in providing researchers and field biologists valuable information before deploy- ing the units on puffins from the Gulf of Maine. As an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility, the National Aquarium also par- ticipates in the Atlantic puffin ( Fratercula arctica ) Species Survival Plan ® (SSP). Experts manage the plan and produce breeding recommendations for each individual of the species within the program. The programs are collaborative endeavors between AZA and each accredited facility to assess genetic diversity and demographics in the population. To date, the SSP has 132 Atlantic puffins and the National Aquarium has proudly participated by suc- cessfully hatching 18 chicks since 2006 to join the program! Continued Efforts Atlantic puffins are a dynamic seabird that deserve to thrive. Their populations are particularly suscep- tible to human activities which is evident in the de- cline of wild populations historically. To ensure we have robust puffin populations, we must continue to strive for the best welfare for animals in care and continuous monitoring of populations in the wild.
Deb Dial and friend
Photo by Aimee Milarski
Citations Burnham, K., Burnham, J., Johnson, J. and Huffman, A., 2021. Mi- gratory movements of Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica naumanni from high Arctic Greenland. PLOS ONE , 16(5), p.e0252055. Durant, J.; Anker - Nilssen, T.; Stenseth, N. C. 2003. Trophic interac- tions under climate fluctuations: the Atlantic puffin as an example. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 270: 1461 - 1466. Gaston, A. J., & Jones, I. L.,(1998,). The auk: Alcidae. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press Greenbaum, A., 2018. Seabirds Care Manual. Association of Zoos and Aquariums Huettmann, F. 2000. Environmental determination of seabird distri- bution patterns off eastern and arctic Canada. PhD Thesis, Univ. of New Brunswick, Fredericton. Kress, S. and Jackson, D., 2020. The Puffin Plan Restoring Seabirds to Egg Rock and Beyond . 1st ed. Boston, MA: Tumblehome, Inc, pp.15 - 30 Kress, S., Shannon, P. and O ’ Neal, C., 2017. Recent changes in the diet and survival of Atlantic puffin chicks in the face of climate change and commercial fishing in midcoast Maine, USA. FACETS , 1 (1), pp.27 - 43 Lowther, P., Diamond, A., Kress, S., Robertson, G., Russell, K., Nettleship, D., Kirwan, G., Christie, D., Sharpe, C., Garcia, E. and Boesman, P., 2020. Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica). Birds of the World , Birdsoftheworld.org. 2021. [online] Available at: <https:// birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/atlpuf/cur/distribution> [Accessed 10 December 2021]. Walker, S. and Meijer, H., 2021. Size variation in mid - Holocene North Atlantic Puffins indicates a dynamic response to climate change. PLOS ONE , 16(2), p.e0246888. Weinstein, A., 2021. More Food on the Table for New England's Puffins and Terns . [online] Audubon. Available at: <https:// www.audubon.org/news/more - food - table - new - englands - puffins - and - terns> [Accessed 5 December 2021].
18 Volume XLVIX ● January 2022
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