Researchers investigating Greenlandic seabird deaths

Hunger or disease are the two primary suspects, according to researchers

Researchers from Denmark’s Technical University (DTU) and the state veterinarian serum laboratory, Statens Veterinære Serumlaboratorium, will be investigating why a number of guillemots have died in southern Greenland.

Veterinarians and biologists from the Greenlandic nature institute, Grønlands Naturinstitut Pinngortitaleriffik (GNP), were unable to establish why the seabird from the auk family is perishing, but speculated that either their food source is disappearing and they are dying of hunger, or that an illness is spreading through the guillemot population.

“We are thinking in broad terms and we want to look into whether this is a general development due to global warming or if there is a disease that is spreading,” Asbjørn Brandt, the head veterinary officer in Greenland, told Greenlandic newspaper Sermitsiaq.

The guillemot is under increasing pressure in Greenland, and the GNP has proposed completely protecting the bird for a period of ten years or limiting the hunting of it to one month a year.

The guillemot can be found in a number of locations in the Arctic region, but is also found in Europe and Asia.