The Reserve was established in 1971 but Måkläppen had already been made a protected area in 1902 in order to safeguard the abundant birdlife. Since then, much has happened.
In the beginning of the 1970s Måkläppen started to move, joining with the mainland in the 1990s by which time it had moved 250 meters to the east. This caused the fauna to change. Nesting birds became fewer, and fox, badger, marten and polecat appeared once the land connection was established. Nowadays we mainly associate Måkläppen with seals and resting birds.