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A ccording to people in the know, the scientists, well over 60% of all puffins left in this world are found in or around Iceland during the spring and summer months between mid-April and late August. But where should you go?

You should absolutely try to catch a glimpse of those apparently clumsy but adorable creatures with their bright orange beak. One reason is simply because puffins spend the rest of the year out at sea where chances of spotting them are slimmer than getting into heaven.

Luckily, there are a few places on this great island where puffins gather in much higher numbers than elsewhere. One place in particular, Westman Islands or Vestmannaeyjar in the local language, has the clear lead in attracting tourists in search of puffins. Other mighty fine places would be Langanes peninsula and Tjornes peninsula, the super-awesome sea cliffs of Latrabjarg, the Eastern Borgarfjordur and most any of the thousands of tiny islands dotting the seascape around the country.

Now, we´re not gonna dictate where you should go to witness these fabulous, vulnerable creatures but let us make one suggestion: Lets head anywhere else than the Westman Islands for the perfect puffin pic!

Why´s that you might ask? It is, after all, one of the simplest places to get to to witness those lovely creatures.

Well, a few reasons to be fair and honest, but one reason in particular takes the cake in our view. Locals in the Westman Islands are the only ones to actively HUNT THE PUFFIN!

Yup, you read that right. On this haven of localities for these lovely birds they not only have to worry about the usual suspects like seagulls, eagles, hawks and unknown number of predators of the sea, but also from the most thinking animal of all: the humans.

Hunting puffin for a bit of food has been a staple of the locals of Westman Islands for centuries and we´re not condemning that tradition at all. Folks have to eat and slow-flying puffins are an easy pray for folks with no access to modern supermarkets.

However, the lovely puffins have been on the vulnerable/endangered list of animals for a number of years now. Global warming is not especially helpful to the clumsy puffin. But the hardcore locals in Westman Islands do not give a flying fuck. They hunt regardless.

Now, nowhere else in Iceland is the hunting of the puffin a thing. In fact, one might be persuaded that the puffins are aware of this since their numbers in the islands of Westman have steadily dwindled for 30 years or so while multiplying elsewhere.

And where do they go now?

To the East. The numbers of puffin in the East of Iceland have tripled in the last 20 years and they keep multiplying. Naturally too, since no one hunts them relentlessly like the folks of Westman Islands.

That is why you should go East 🙂

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