Media Storm Over Iceland Hunting is a Load of Puff

A host of papers have latched on to a fake meme that hordes of Brits are travelling to Iceland in order to trophy hunt puffins, in a call to ban the practice. The only problem is there’s no evidence that such trophy hunting is actually taking place…

  • The Telegraph alleged that “Puffins are being hunted 100 at a time by trophy collectors who are allowed to bring the carcasses back to the UK”
  • The Mirror said that “British trophy hunters are flocking to Iceland to shoot up to 100 puffins at a time – before bringing the carcasses back home.”
  • The Independent went with “British trophy hunters are killing up to 100 puffins at a time during hunting trips to Iceland”

But Iceland only hands out 100 hunting licences to foreigners each year, mostly for reindeer or goose hunting. The Icelandic Hunting Association was bemused by the stories, explaining “foreigners can only hunt less than 250 meters from the shore and the puffin is beyond that.”

The articles cite the figure of Brits paying £3,000 to hunt, but that turns out to be just a crude conversion from a $3450 price listed on an American website based in Montana and aimed at American tourists. Not to do with ‘British trophy hunters’ at all…

More bizarrely still, each article is accompanied by photos that have nothing to do with Britain. Áki Ármann Jónsson, President of the Icelandic Hunting Association and the former head of Iceland’s Environment Agency said “The picture with the news story is from 2010 from the Icelandic company The Icelandic Hunting Club, they hunt about 200 puffins yearly” out of a population of 5-6 million. That didn’t stop the stories racking up thousands of outrage-shares…

UPDATE: Following Guido’s fact-based research into this story, the Independent, the Mirror and the Metro have removed all references to British trophy hunters from their articles. The Telegraph are yet to back down…

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