Why Are Puffins Vanishing? 海鸚為何變少?冰島生態警訊.

 

精英翻譯社轉自: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/331684/web/

 

作者/John Schwartz

翻譯/陳韋廷

 

Puffins are in trouble.

海鸚處境堪憂。

 

The birds have been in precipitous decline, especially since the 2000s, both in Iceland and across many of their Atlantic habitats. The potential culprits are many: fickle prey, overfishing, pollution. Scientists say that climate change is another underlying factor that is diminishing food supplies and is likely to become more important over time. And the fact that puffins are tasty, and thus hunted as game here, hardly helps.

這種鳥數量一直在急劇下降,尤其是自2000年代以來,無論是在冰島或是牠們大西洋上的許多棲息地。潛在的元凶有很多:獵物來源不穩定、過度捕撈、汙染。科學家們表示,氣候變遷是另一個導致糧食供應減少的潛在因素,隨著時間推移很可能變得更加重要,而海鸚由於味道鮮美,在當地被作為獵物獵殺的事實,也是個不利的因素。

 

Though some puffin colonies are prospering, in Iceland, where the largest population of Atlantic puffins is found, their numbers have dropped from roughly 7 million individuals to about 5.4 million. Since 2015, the birds have been listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, meaning they face a high risk of extinction in the wild.

儘管部分海鸚聚居地正蓬勃發展,但在發現最多數量大西洋海鸚的冰島,牠們的數量已從大約700萬隻下降到540萬隻。自2015年以來,這種鳥類被世界自然保育聯盟列為「易受害」物種,這意味著牠們在野外面臨著滅絕的高風險。

 

Hunters with long nets can be seen tooling around Grimsey Island in the summer, leaving behind piles of bird carcasses, the breast meat stripped away. Iceland has restricted the annual harvest, but hunting “is accelerating the decline,” said Erpur Snaer Hansen, acting director of the South Iceland Nature Research Center.

夏天可以看到帶著長網的獵人在格里姆賽島四處打獵,留下一堆鳥屍,剝去了胸肉。南冰島自然研究中心代理主任厄普.史內爾.漢森則表示,冰島已限制了年度獵捕量,但獵捕「正使鳥數加速下降」。

 

Around Iceland, the puffins have suffered because of the decline of their favorite food, silvery sand eels, which dangle from the parents’ beaks as they bring them to their young. That collapse correlates to a rise in sea surface temperatures that Hansen has been monitoring for years.

在冰島周圍,海鸚因最愛食物銀沙鰻的減少而頗受影響,而銀沙鰻就是在海鸚親鳥啣去餵幼鳥時,在親鳥嘴裡晃來晃去的那種魚。銀沙鰻數量銳減與海水表面溫度上升的現象有關,漢森監測這個現象已有多年。

 

Without as many sand eels in the water, the birds have to fly farther to find food for themselves and their chicks. Hansen’s twice-yearly census of 700 puffin burrows in 12 colonies around Iceland show that 40 percent of the population of Icelandic puffin chicks is losing body mass over time, another bad sign.

由於水中沒那麼多銀沙鰻,這些鳥必須飛得更遠來為自己和牠們的幼鳥尋找食物。漢森每年兩次對冰島一帶12個聚居地內700個洞穴進行的普查顯示,冰島海鸚的幼鳥有40%體重正隨著時間而減少,這又是個不祥之兆。

 

When the adults can’t catch enough to feed themselves and the chicks, they make an instinctive Malthusian choice; the chicks starve. There are still millions of Atlantic puffins, but their plentiful colonies are deceiving, Hansen said.

當成鳥無法捕到足夠食物餵養自己及幼鳥時,牠們就會做出本能的馬爾薩斯式選擇,幼鳥只好挨餓。漢森表示,雖然大西洋海鸚數量還有數百萬,但牠們群體的繁多卻遮掩了真相。

 

“These birds are long lived, so you don’t just see them plummeting down,” he said. In the long run, he warned, “It’s not sustainable.”

他說:「這些鳥很長壽,所以你不會看到牠們數量在驟減。」他警告說,從長遠來看,「這難以持續」。

 

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