Jotunheimen National Park’s status as a fan favorite is damaging the local bird population.
The problem is focused on Knutshø Mountain in Jotunheimen, where golden eagles nest.
Big increase in visitors
With many tourists and tourism companies alike turning their attention to the mountain, visits to Knutshø have almost doubled in five years, according to NRK.
The number of tourists walking around the Knutshø grounds, as well as the amount of cars, have been on the rise.
With up to four hundred tourists in one day, but parking for about 20 cars, there have also been major traffic problems. Such a surge of cars on the road is a safety issue for humans, too.
Golden eagles at serious risk
For years, golden eagles have used Knutshø as their nesting grounds.
However, the site could be lost if things don’t change very, very fast. In fact, national park manager Kari Sveen told NRK it might already be too late.
Golden eagle females usually lay eggs 3-4 days apart in March and then incubate them for 43 to 45 days. This, unfortunately, lines up with the springtime and early summertime tourist season.
There are efforts underway to curb the number of tourists, nonetheless.
A master’s student at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Yosra Zouhar is part of the movement. She surveys visitors at the start of the Knutshø Mountain path to determine whether people would be willing to go elsewhere if they were informed about the situation.
Though people might say one thing and do another, Zouhar is trying to gauge the general situation. Zouhar told NRK that visitors can’t be denied entry at the park, but hopes that raising awareness might help.
As for revealing the nesting site of golden eagles to the public, it could do more harm than good. Sadly, some people might purposefully seek them out instead of leaving them at peace.
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