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Vandals in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

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Vandals in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Hornstrandir

The skinned seal found on the shore. Photo: Nanný Arna Guðmundsdóttir

Monitoring of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the West Fjords must increase, according to one of the people who came upon men there last weekend, who had trashed an emergency shelter and used firearms against all rules.

A skinned seal, which had been shot, was found on the shore, plants had been damaged, there were signs of a bonfire, a puffin had been killed, a sea gull shot, and the emergency shelter taken over, RÚV reports. The intruders had also failed to notify park rangers of their arrival by boat, as required by regulations. A motion detector had been placed by the seal’s carcass, apparently because the men had intended to shoot a fox.

Hornstrandir

The firearms found on the shore. Photo: Nanný Arna Guðmundsdóttir.

Nanný Arna Guðmundsdóttir, CEO of Borea Adventures in Ísafjörður, is one of the people who witnessed the damage. On her Facebook page, she describes the alarming conditions at the site when she arrived and posts photos she took.

She wonders what can be done to prevent such a thing from happening again. “We have one park ranger who monitors the area most of the season. There is another park ranger in Hesteyri. These two don’t manage to monitor this huge area and ensure people abide by the law of the reserve. Presumably, they are responsible for making sure the law regarding nature and animal protection is followed.”

Nanný doesn’t believe police have the capacity to monitor the area. “They are undermanned and don’t have the resources to react if something comes up. What I would like to see is the rules tightened and ways to react clarified.”

The Hornstrandir Nature Reserve covers an area of 600 km2 (232 miles2).

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