Portal to the Lesser White-fronted Goose

- by the Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose project

Literature type: Report

Language: English


Full reference: Lee, R., Cranswick, P.A. Hilton, G.M. & Jarrett, N.S. 2010. Feasibility study for a re-introduction/supplementation programme for the Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus in Norway. , WWT Report to the Directorate for Nature Management, Norway. 130pp.

Keywords: reintroduction, translocation, population, mortality, feasibility, re-introduction, supplementation, Norway, Fennoscandia, life-history, captive breeding, zoo,

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Conservation Genetics

Volume: 1 , Pages: 277-283.

DOI: 10.1023/A:1011509922762

Language: English

Full reference: Ruokonen, M., Kvist, L., Tegelström, H., Lumme, J. 2000. Goose hybrids, captive breeding and restocking of the Fennoscandian populations of the Lesser White-fronted goose (Anser erythropus). Conservation Genetics 1: 277-283. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1011509922762

Keywords: captive stock, hybrids, mitochondrial DNA, reintroduction


The lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus) is the most threatened of the Palearctic goose species with a declining population trend throughout its distributional range. The current estimate of the Fennoscandian subpopulation size is 30–50 breeding pairs, whereas it still numbered more than 10 000 individuals at the beginning of the last century. Reintroduction and restocking have been carried out in Sweden and Finland using captive lesser white-fronted goose stock with unknown origins. We have carried out a study of the genetic composition of captive-bred stock by sequencing a 221 bp hypervariable fragment of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region from 15 individuals from the Hailuoto farm, Finland. Two out of the three maternal lineages detected in the captive stock are also present in wild populations. The third maternal lineage among the captive lesser white-fronted geese originates from the closely related greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons). None of the investigated wild lesser white-fronted goose individuals carried themtDNA of the greater white-fronted goose. The presence of greater white-fronted goose mtDNA in the lesser white-fronted goose captive stock suggests that hybridization has occurred during captive propagation.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Biochem. Genet.

Volume: 34 , Pages: 287-296.

DOI: 10.1007/PL00020578

Language: English

External Link:

Full reference: Tegelström, H. & von Essen, L. 1996. DNA fingerprinting of captive breeding pairs of lesser white-fronted geese (Anser erythropus) with unknown pedigrees. Biochem. Genet. 34: 287-296. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1007/PL00020578

Keywords: genetics, reintroduction


For a number of decades, the lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus) has been almost-absent from the Fennoscandian fauna and has a current population size of only about 60 breeding pairs, with fewer than 10 pairs in Sweden. During the period 1981–1991 more than 200 young have been reintroduced in northern Sweden. However, the origin and possible relatedness of lesser white-fronted individuals were unknown when the breeding program started. We have used DNA fingerprinting to assess the similarity of 18 individuals, i.e., the entire captive population used for breeding in 1991 and about 60% of the captive population used in 1981–1991. Minisatellite probe 33.15 provided an index for an average similarity of 0.39 between the mates of the 12 breeding pairs used for producing offspring for reintroduction. This is a higher similarity than in natural populations of birds in general but lower than in populations that have passed through serious population bottlenecks. Individuals originating from different breeders are more dissimilar than those from the same breeder. However, the close relationships (similarity, 0.5–0.6) found in a group of five individuals from different breeders show that selecting individuals from different breeding groups is not sufficient to prevent mating between closely related individuals.

Number of results: 3