Portal to the Lesser White-fronted Goose

- by the Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose project

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Wildfowl

Volume: 73 , Pages: 238–249

Language: English

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Full reference: Pokrovskaya, O., Sokolova, N., Erich, D., Gilg, O., Sokolov, V. & Sokolov, A. 2023. Globally threatened Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus nesting in association with Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus in southern Yamal, Russia. Wildfowl 73: 238–249

Keywords: breeding biology, nest association, nest protection, peregrine falcon, Siberia, arctic

Abstract:

Knowledge about the breeding biology and potential threats on the breeding grounds is important for conservation of threatened species. The main breeding range of the Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus (LWFG) forms a belt along the southern part of the Russian arctic and, although their main nesting habitat has been described based on observations of broods or pairs with breeding behaviour, only very few observations of confirmed nests have been reported. Since 2006, we have encountered 36 nests of this rare species in the Erkuta River basin (in the southern part of the Yamal Peninsula), described their nesting habitat and found that 71% of nests were associated with territorial Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus. Such a nest association, already described for other Siberian wildfowl, is assumed to increase the nest survival of LWFG in areas with high predation rates, but also raises indirect conservation concerns since the Peregrine Falcon is itself a rare species in many regions of Russia.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Biological Conservation

Volume: 281

DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2023.110028

Language: English

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Full reference: Marolla, F., Aarvak, T. Hamel, S., Ims, R.A., Kéry, M., Mellard, J.P., Nater, C.R., Schaub, M., Vougioukalou, M., Yoccoz, N.G. & Øien, I.J. 2023. Life-cycle analysis of an endangered migratory goose to assess the impact of conservation actions on population recovery. Biological Conservation 281. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2023.110028

Keywords: Goose management, State-space model, Management evaluation, Lesser white-fronted goose, Unmarked individuals, Non-breeding dynamics, migration

Abstract:

Evaluating the effectiveness of conservation actions is challenging for migratory species because a population can be impacted anywhere along its route. Conservation actions for the critically endangered Fennoscandian lesser white-fronted goose population include culling of red foxes in the breeding area and habitat improvements and reduction of illegal hunting in the non-breeding areas. One goal of the predator control strategy is to prevent adult birds from using an autumn migration route through western Asia, where mortality is believed to be higher than on the migration route through eastern Europe. We used 23 years of count data obtained at different staging areas to parameterize a seasonal state-space model describing the full-annual cycle dynamics of this population and evaluate whether the recent population recovery was linked to these conservation efforts. The results did not provide evidence that predator control influenced population recovery, as survival on the European route did not appear higher than on the allegedly riskier Asian route. However, adult survival at staging areas on both routes and at wintering sites may have improved in the last decade, suggesting a positive effect of the other conservation initiatives. These results emphasize the importance of including the non-breeding dynamics in population assessments of migratory species and highlight the challenge of evaluating the efficacy of separate conservation actions when a proper experimental design is unfeasible. Our study, which is a unique case of cross-national, coordinated conservation efforts, exemplifies how to model complex population dynamics to assess the influence of costly conservation initiatives.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Frontiers in microbiology

Volume: 13 , Pages: 1081468

DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.1081468

Language: English

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Full reference: Liu, G., Xu, N., & Feng, J. 2023. Metagenomic analysis of gut microbiota and antibiotic-resistant genes in Anser erythropus wintering at Shengjin and Caizi Lakes in China. Frontiers in microbiology 13: 1081468 https://www.dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2022.1081468

Keywords: Shengjin and Caizi Lakes, China, antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs), gut microbiota, metagenomics

Abstract:

Migratory birds are the primary source and reservoir of antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs) related to their gut microbes. In this study, we performed metagenomics analysis to study the gut microbial communities and ARGs of Anser erythropus wintering at Shengjin (SJ) and Caizi (CZ) Lakes. The results showed that bacteria, fungi, viruses, and archaea were the dominant gut microbes. Principal component analysis (PCA) indicated that the microbiota compositions significantly differed between the two populations. Diet may be the most crucial driver of the gut microbial communities for A. erythropus. This species fed exclusively on Poaceae spp. at Shengjin Lake and primarily on Carex spp. at Caizi Lake. Tetracycline, macrolide, fluoroquinolone, phenicol, and peptide antibiotics were the dominant resistant types. ARGs had a significantly higher abundance of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) in the Shengjin Lake samples than in Caizi Lake samples. PCA indicated that most Shengjin Lake samples significantly differed in gut microbiota composition from those obtained at Caizi Lake. This difference in gut microbiota composition between the two lakes' samples is attributed to more extensive aquaculture operations and poultry farms surrounding Shengjin Lake than Caizi Lake. ARGs-microbes associations indicated that 24 bacterial species, commonly used as indicators of antibiotic resistance in surveillance efforts, were abundant in wintering A. erythropus. The results revealed the composition and structural characteristics of the gut microbiota and ARGs of A. erythropus, pointing to their high sensitivities to diet habits at both lakes. This study also provides primary data for risk prevention and control of potential harmful pathogens that could endanger public health and therefore are of major significance to epidemiological and public health.

Literature type: Report

Language: Norwegian In norwegian with english abstract

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Full reference: Kvalnes, T., Follestad, A., Krange, O. & Tombre, I.M. 2023. Evaluering av norsk handlingsplan for dverggås. [Evaluation of the Norwegian action plan for the Lesser White-fronted Goose.] , NINA Rapport 2349. Norsk institutt for naturforskning.

Keywords: dverggås, national action plan, Norway, priority species, conservation actions

Abstract:

The lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus) is a critically endangered species in Norway. Due to a rapid decline in population size since the 1940s the population is now at very low numbers. In the previous three generations, the population has several times consisted of less than 50 reproducing individuals. In addition, the Norwegian breeding population constitutes almost the entire remaining Fennoscandian population of the species. Because of this situation, the lesser white-fronted goose is classified as a priority species with its own regulations in Norway. BirdLife Norway (formerly the Norwegian Ornithological Association) has since 1985 monitored the species annually in Finnmark, northern Norway. Geese have been individually ringed with neck-bands and leg rings, including GPS-loggers, which have identified migration routes from Norway to their wintering areas in Greece. Commissioned by the Norwegian Environment Agency, NINA has conducted an overall evaluation of the implementation of the Norwegian action plan for the lesser white-fronted goose which was launched in 2009. The aims of this evaluation has been 1) to evaluate the achievements of the management goals, 2) to evaluate whether knowledge from the monitoring is organized and disseminated appropriately for practical use, 3) to evaluate how the financial structures and conservation measures have been organised, and 4) to provide input for further knowledge acquisition and implementation of actions. The evaluation was based on relevant published results, such as reports from BirdLife Norway, scientific articles, and other information developed in the project. Informants from various relevant stakeholder groups and end-users have been interviewed. Additionally, a so-called red to green method was applied to evaluate the need for future knowledge needs and management actions. Stopping the ongoing population decline by 2015 and a long-term increase of the population size to a target of 1000 individuals, were the main objectives of the action plan. The second objective has not yet been achieved. However, the earlier population decline has been stopped and the population have displayed a slight positive growth rate. Thus, that the first objective has been achieved. In our evaluation, the change in population growth rate is considered to be an effect of the overall measures which have been made to preserve the species. A revision of the action plan is recommended. New achievable objectives for population size should be implemented as steps on the way towards a viable population size. The red list criteria can be used to define objectives and aid the choice of measures. To reduce adult mortality and increase the reproductive success, several conservation measures have been implemented. No entry zones have been established at important staging sites, such as Valdakmyra in Porsanger municipality and Rørholmen in Alta municipality. Annual culling of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in and around the breeding area have been carried out to reduce egg and gosling predation. Bans on hunting for greylag geese (Anser anser) have been imposed in large parts of Finnmark to prevent accidental harvest of lesser white-fronted geese. Extensive international cooperation with Finland, Russia and other countries has been important. Cooperations have included efforts to monitor, reduce illegal hunting and secure important functional sites along the migration routes and in the wintering sites. The conservation measures are in general met with support from the informants. They express that most people are concerned with the conservation of the lesser white-fronted goose. Staff in nature management and at museums use the knowledge generated by the monitoring and various research projects to a large extent. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the conservation efforts among other users of the areas where staging and breeding sites for the lesser white-fronted goose are found. We also observed a need for more accessible dissemination of the knowledge which is generated. Some of the informants expressed that several stakeholders do not agree with the ban on hunting of greylag geese in local areas. The established boundaries for where the hunting ban should apply are especially considered problematic. Several stake-holders also claimed that hunter skills are underrated when the underlying assumption for this ban is that it is difficult for hunters to distinguish lesser white-fronted geese from greylag geese during the hunt. This evaluation recommends that also farmers and hunters are included in the dialogue involved in the management of the lesser white-fronted goose. Enhancing communication will facilitate discussions on potential changes that can be implemented to meet their needs while at the same time mitigating the risk of harming the geese. A discussion on adjusting the boarders of the hunting ban should be part of such a dialogue. Our evaluation indicates that much of the conservation effort carried out has been important and should be prolonged in the years ahead. In addition, some new objectives for the species and conservation measures are suggested. However, the lesser white-fronted goose has a long migration route across many countries. Thus, there is a limit to what can be achieved with unilateral national efforts in Norway. To ensure a high probability of success, it will be extremely important that international efforts are also prioritized. Moreover, the evaluation reveals some knowledge gaps that will be important to fill such that more precise conservation measures can be implemented and the effect of measures, such as red fox removal, can be evaluated in more detail. Internationally, it is particularly important to secure stop-over and wintering sites against illegal hunting, degradation and disturbance. Continued monitoring during wintering, along the migration route and at staging sites in Norway is essential to assess the effects of the conservation measures. Based on information from the interviews, it should also be considered whether a dialogue group should be established. With joint meetings among the representatives from nature management, participants in the conservation measures and other affected stakeholders. A forum is likely to improve communication, allow for exchange of experience and knowledge, and contribute to an increased understanding and acceptance of the conservation measures. Hence, it can contribute to achieving the management goals.

Literature type: General

Journal: Die Vogelwelt

Volume: 141 , Pages: 101-110

Language: English

Full reference: Kruckenberg, H. & Krüger, T. 2023. Current status of the Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus in Northwest Germany (Lower Saxony and Bremen), an important stop-over and wintering area. Die Vogelwelt: 141, 101-110

Keywords: reintrodcution, hunting, Germany, numbers, distribution

Abstract:

Since the 1950s Lesser White-fronted Geese Anser erythropus decreased dramatically all over the wide-spread breeding area (Mikander 2015). Nowadays Lesser Whitefronts are one of the most endangered waterbird species in Europe (BirdLife International 2015). Krüger & Kruckenberg (2011) could show that the species has been frequently observed in Lower Saxony since the beginning of the 20th century. From 2012-2015 a research project of NABU Lower Saxony intensively investigated the importance of Northwest Germany for this species. As a result we present new and supplemented data on the occurrence of Lesser White-fronts in Lower-Saxony for the period 1980–2016. In this period, a strong increase in the number of observations occurred, such that Lesser White-fronted Goose has stated as a regular, annually occurring migratory bird in Lower Saxony. The number of observations in Lower Saxony peaked in the years of 1999/2000 to 2007/08 and decreased thereafter. A clear pattern in spatial distribution can be identified in the northwest of Lower Saxony in the region of East Frisia. This includes the Dollard-Lower Ems-Region (Rheiderland, Emsmarschen) with the Krummhörn, including Leybucht, which are key sites for the species. Other important sites are the Middle Elbe and the Lower Elbe. Unfortunately, information about the origin of the birds is rare. More than half of the Swedish Lesser Whitefronts are colour-marked, but the occurrence of many unmarked birds presumably consists of a mixture of Russian and Norwegian birds. Taken together all data show Lower Saxony (Northwest Germany) as a part of the range of Lesser White-fronted Geese migrate to The Netherlands and probably also for wintering individuals. So, this should be incorporate in legislative protection (f.e. key species in Bird sanctuaries or hunting regulation).

Journal: Tiirutaja

Volume: 62 , Pages: 8-9

Language: Estonian

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Full reference: Kalamees, A. 2023. Väike-laukhanedel oli edukas pesitsusaasta. [The Lesser White-fronted goose had a successful nesting year.]

Keywords: migration, breeding success, Norway, Estonia, GPS-tracking

Abstract:

Veel käesoleva aasta kevadel näitasid rahvusvahelise väike-laukhanede seire andmed Fennoskandia populatsiooni jätkuvat kahanemist. Viimasel viiel aastal on järjest vähem isendeid jõudnud tagasi pesitsusaladele Põhja-Norras. Madalseisu paljude põhjuste seas peetakse olulisemateks elupaikade kadumist, kliimamuutustest tingitud väga halba pesitsusedukust ja kõrget röövlust, jahipidamist ning põllumajanduslikust tegevusest tingitud häirimist.

Literature type: General

Journal: Linnut-vuosikirja

Volume: 2021 , Pages: 24-31

Language: Finnish in Finnish with English summary

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Full reference: Tolvanen, P., Karvonen R., Aarvak T, Øien I.J., Kaartinen, R., Lampila P. & Mikander, N. 2022. Kolmenumeroisiin yksilömääriin – kiljuhanhen suojelu 2015–2021. [Conservation of the Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus in 2015-2021.], Linnut-vuosikirja: 2021, 24-31

Keywords: Finland, trend, numbers, conservation, gsm-telemetry, migration routes

Abstract:

The critically endangered Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus population is currently estimated to number roughly 100 individuals. Following a dramatic long-term decline to only some 10 breeding pairs in 2007–2008, the population has since slowly been increasing. The spring staging of the population on the Finnish Bothnian Bay coast has been monitored by the WWF Finland Lesser White-fronted Goose conservation project since 1985. In spring 2017, 124 individuals were counted, which was the highest number during the history of the monitoring. The Bothnian Bay coast was historically also an important autumn staging area and since 2020, the geese have again been staging in the area also during autumn migration. Breeding of the species has not been recorded in Finland since 1995, but the likelihood of locating breeding pairs again in Finnish Lapland is considered to be increasing, as the Norwegian breeding population is growing. As a part of the current international Lesser White-fronted Goose EU LIFE project (wwf.fi/lwfg), environmental DNA is being used to map potential breeding sites in Finland.

Literature type: Thesis

Language: English

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Full reference: Markkola, J. 2022. Ecology and conservation of the Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus. , PhD thesis, Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A Scientiae Rerum Naturalium 770. Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, Finland.

Keywords: spring arrival, Anser erythropus, Anser fabalis, breeding schedule, habitat, diet selection, meadow management, population genetic structure, Finland

Abstract:

I studied the rare and threatened lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus), abbreviated LWfG in 1989–1996 in sub-arctic Finnish Lapland (I). The studied subpopulation consisted of 2–15 breeding pairs annually. A total of 30 broods were observed with an average of 2.9 goslings per brood. The 1st year survival of tagged 10 geese was low. Satellite locations, recoveries and resightings were received from NW Russia, Kazakhstan and the Azov Sea area. Cold spells had a negative, and the sum of effective temperatures by 5 July a positive influence on reproduction. Habitat selection (II) was studied in the same area. LWfG preferred the vicinity of water, flat close-range landscape, low forest height and intermediate relative altitudes. LWfG aggregated in the vicinity of conspecifics within the preferred habitats. The averaged RSF model assigned observation and random points correctly with 83.4% success. Locations of historical observations of LWfG matched the predicted distribution of breeding sites. (III) Spring migration patterns on the Bothnian Bay coast of LWfG were examined in 1907–1916 and 1949–2014 and the taiga bean goose (Anser fabalis fabalis) in 1975–2014. Arrival of the short-distance migrant A. fabalis advanced more and earlier than the long-distance migrant A. erythropus, 10.9 days since late 1980’s vs. 5.3 days since the beginning of the 2000’s. In the LWfG, the best model for explaining variation in timing included global and local temperatures, in A. fabalis global and local temperatures and winter NAO. Increasing global temperatures seem to explain trends in both. In the spring staging places of the Bothnian Bay almost all dietary items of the LWfG were Monocotyledons, mostly grasses growing in extensive sea-shore meadows (IV). Only Phragmites, Festuca and possibly Triglochin palustris were preferred. Lesser White-fronts preferred extensive natural meadows. Mowing and grazing benefit the restoration of habitats. Genetic structuring of the LWfG was examined in its whole distribution area from Fennoscandia to East Asia (V). A fragment of the control region of mtDNA was sequenced from 110 individuals. 15 mtDNA haplotypes were assigned to two mtDNA lineages. Molecular variance showed significant structuring among populations: the main western in north-western Russia – Central Siberia, the main eastern in East Asia and the Nordic one, which earns a status as an independent management unit.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Bird Conservation International

Volume: 33 , Pages: e42, 1–8

DOI: 10.1017/S0959270922000478

Language: English

Full reference: Kruckenberg, H., Moonen S., Kölzsch, A., Liljebäck, N. & Müskens, GJDM. 2022. Migration routes and stepping stones along the western flyway of Lesser White-fronted Geese (Anser erythropus). Bird Conservation International 33: e42, 1–8 https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0959270922000478

Keywords: reintroduction, Sweden, migration routes, tracking, Brownian bridge, dBBMM,

Abstract:

In 2015 and 2016 four Lesser White-fronted Geese (Anser erythropus), a globally threatened species, were caught and tagged during spring migration representing nearly 10% of the entire Swedish breeding population at the time. Two of the birds were followed over more than one season. Tracking data revealed an unexpected wide network of migration corridors and staging sites. Autumn and spring migration differed by stepping-stone sites and migration speed. So far unknown key stopover sites were discovered in Denmark, northern Germany, and Sweden. By using dynamic Brownian bridge movement models, the potential areas that Lesser Whitefronted Geese used during migration are described and conservation implications spotlighted. This study provides another important piece of the puzzle describing the migration of Lesser White-fronted Geese in Western Europe.

Literature type: Red list

Language: Russian

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Full reference: Kondratyev A.V. & Litovka D.I. 2022. Красная книга Чукотского автономного округа: В 2 т. Т. 1. Редкие и находящиеся под угрозой исчезновения виды животных. [Red book of Chukotka autonomous okrug. The rare and endangered species of animals.] , OOO Teksotel, Nizhny Novgorod. 225 pp.

Keywords: Chukotka, Russia, Bilibinsky, Chaunsky, Red list, population size, hunting, hunting ban,

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