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Daily Archives: 7. June 2012 − News & Stories


Svolvær – or Svalbard…?

An American lady was more than just a bit surprised when she found out where she actually was in the airport of Longyearbyen. She had intended to travel up to Svolvær, the main settlement in Lofoten, a group of islands off the coast of north Norway.

The reason for the not so little detour was the similarity between the words “Svolvær” and “Svalbard”, as the Norwegians commonly call Spitsbergen. The lady had asked the travel agency for a ticket to Svolvær but got one to Svalbard, without anyone taking notice of the difference. She was a bit surprised about the passport control in Tromsø, but did not pay any further attention to it.

She said she enjoyed her 2 days in the high arctic after the first surprise, until a seat on a flight back was available.

Svalbard (yellow circle) and Svolvær (red): a little difference.

Svolvær or Svalbard - Svalbard map

Source: Svalbardposten (2112)

Eider duck news

Eider duck news: Biologists have revealed some interesting facts about common eider ducks in Spitsbergen. They were negatively affected by egg and down feather collecting until they were protected in 1963. Since 1973, important breeding colonies, mostly on small islands, may not be visited anymore without special permission, which is only issued to scientists and occasionally professional local down collectors. Nevertheless, numbers of breeding common eiders at colonies in Kongsfjorden have remained stable, but did not increase.

Another colony in Bellsund shows however pronounced growth: this is the colony on the small island Eholmen, where a local Norwegian trapper has collected down over years. Careful collecting does not have any negative impact on the breeding success. Protection from predators such as polar bears and foxes which is provided by the trapper seems to have a positive impact, making the site attractive for breedings ducks. The numbers of breeders have consequently increased significantly.

Common eider ducks may possibly also benefit from a warming climate, for example from an early break-up of fjord ice which makes breeding colonies on islands inaccessible for the polar fox, which is generally an important predator.

Breeding common eiders in Adventdalen near Longyearbyen.

Eider duck news - Breeding common eider ducks

Source: NINA.

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