Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Wildlife Management Unit, Agricultural Society of Iceland, P.0. Box
127 Reykjavik, Iceland
There is little doubt that the formation of nesting colonies by eiders is a response to predation by arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus). Most colonies are on the mainland near farms where fox movements are limited. Although arctic foxes kill adult eiders on the nests, the preventive measures are taken in and near the eider colonies themselves. However, there are some difficulties to be overcome. First, eider farmers have no direct cost of the present strategy of reducing predator population sizes, as hunting is paid for by the government and local authorities, while the farmers themselves have to finance most of the preventive measures available, such as electric fences around eider colonies. Second, policy changes in such a sensitive field must be based on rigorously executed field experiments and these are still missing in Iceland.