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: 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: 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).

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: Scientific

Journal: Ecology and Evolution

Volume: 2021;00 , Pages: 1-14.

DOI: 10.1002/ece3.7310

Language: English

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Full reference: Tian, H., Solovyeva, d., Danilov, G., Vartanyan, S., Wen,L., Lei, J., Lu, C., Bridgewater, P., Lei, G. & Zeng, Q. 2021. Combining modern tracking data and historical records improves understanding of the summer habitats of the Eastern Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus. Ecology and Evolution 2021;00: 1-14. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7310

Keywords: Asia, Arctic, eastern population, GPS tracking, Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus, species distribution modeling, summer range

Abstract:

The Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus), smallest of the “gray” geese, is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and protected in all range states. There are three populations, with the least studied being the Eastern population, shared between Russia and China. The extreme remoteness of breeding enclaves makes them largely inaccessible to researchers. As a substitute for visitation, remotely tracking birds from wintering grounds allows exploration of their summer range. Over a period of three years, and using highly accurate GPS tracking devices, eleven individuals of A. erythropus were tracked from the key wintering site of China, to summering, and staging sites in northeastern Russia. Data obtained from that tracking, bolstered byground survey and literature records, were used to model the summer distribution of A. erythropus. Although earlier literature describes a patchy summer range, the model suggests a contiguous summer habitat range is possible, although observations to date cannot confirm A. erythropus is present throughout the modeled range. The most suitable habitats are located along the coasts of the Laptev Sea, primarily the Lena Delta, in the Yana-Kolyma Lowland, and smaller lowlands of Chukotka with narrow riparian extensions upstream along major rivers such as the Lena, Indigirka,and Kolyma. The probability of A. erythropus presence is related to areas with altitude less than 500 m with abundant wetlands, especially riparian habitat, and a climate with precipitation of the warmest quarter around 55 mm and mean temperature around 14°C during June-August. Human disturbance also affects site suitability, with a gradual decrease in species presence starting around 160 km from human settlements. Remote tracking of animal species can bridge the knowledge gap required for robust estimation of species distribution patterns in remote areas. Better knowledge of species' distribution is important in understanding the large-scale ecological consequences of rapid global change and establishing conservation management strategies.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Ornis svecica

Volume: 31 , Pages: 125–138

DOI: 10.34080/OS.V31.22430

Language: English

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Full reference: Liljebäck, N., Koffijberg, K., Kowallik, C., Månsson, J. & Andersson, Å. 2021. Use of foster parents in species conservation may cause conflicting objectives: Hybridization between Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus and Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis. Ornis svecica 31: 125–138 https://www.dx.doi.org/10.34080/OS.V31.22430

Keywords: reintroduction, foster parents, Sweden, hybridization

Abstract:

Following the use of Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis as foster parents in a conservation program for the endangered Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus in Sweden 1981–1999, mixed breeding pairs of the two species were established in the wild. We find indications that this was related to shared moulting habits of the two species in the Bothnian Sea during late 1990s. Starting in 2003, five mixed pairs produced at least 49 free-flying hybrid offspring until 2013, when the last breeding was confirmed. Reported numbers of hybrids did not increase in parallel to the production of young hybrids over time. After 2013, the number of hybrids started to decrease in Sweden and the Netherlands. Lower numbers of hybrids than expected can partly be explained by management actions taken, but may also be associated with low survival due to genetic outbreeding. Mixed pairs and their offspring entirely adopted the migratory habits of Barnacle Geese, overlapping very little with sites used by Lesser White-fronted Geese. We find no evidence that the hybrids ever posed a serious threat to Lesser White-fronted Geese breeding in Fennoscandia.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Wildfowl

Volume: SpecIs 6 , Pages: 206–243.

Language: English

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Full reference: Ao, P., Wang, X., Solovyeva, D., Meng, F., Ikeuchi, T., Shimada, T., Park, J., Gao, D., Liu, G., Hu, B., Natsagdorj, T., Zheng, B., Vartanyan, S., Davaasuren, B., Zhang, J., Cao, L. & Fox, A. 2021. Rapid decline of the geographically restricted and globally threatened Eastern Palearctic Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus. Wildfowl SpecIs 6: 206–243.

Keywords: abundance, key sites, migration routes, population trends, telemetry tracking, China, Asia

Abstract:

The Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus, which breeds across northern Eurasia from Norway to Chukotka, is globally threatened and is currently classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Eastern Palearctic population of the species was thought to breed in arctic Russia, from east of the Taimyr Peninsula to Chukotka, and to winter in East Asia, but its precise status, abundance, breeding and wintering ranges, and migration routes were largely unknown, reducing the effectiveness of conservation efforts. In this paper, we combined results from satellite tracking, field surveys, a literature review and expert knowledge, to present an updated overview of the winter distribution and abundance of Lesser White-fronted Geese in the Eastern Palearctic, highlighting their migration corridors, habitat use and the conservation status of the key sites used throughout the annual cycle. Improved count coverage puts the Eastern Palearctic Lesser White-fronted Geese population at c. 6,800 birds in 2020, which represents a rapid and worrying decline since the estimate of 16,000 in 2015, as it suggests at least a halving of numbers in just five years. East Dongting Lake (Hunan Province) in China is the most important wintering site for the species in East Asia, followed by Poyang Lake (Jiangxi Province) and Caizi Lake (Anhui Province), with one key wintering site in Miyagi County in Japan. Satellite tracking showed that eight individuals captured during summer on the Rauchua River, Chukotka, Russia wintered in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River floodplain in China. Their migration speed was slower in spring than in autumn, mainly because of longer stopover duration at staging sites in spring. The tracked geese mainly used cultivated land on migration stopovers (52% in spring; 45% in autumn), tundra habitat in summer (63%), and wetlands (66%) in winter. Overall, 87% of the GPS fixes were in protected areas during the winter, far greater than in spring (37%), autumn (28%) and summer (7%). We urge more tracking of birds of differing wintering and breeding provenance to provide a fuller understanding of the migration routes, staging sites and breeding areas used by the geese, including for the birds wintering in Japan. The most urgent requirement is to enhance effective conservation and long-term monitoring of Lesser White-fronted Geese across sites within China, and particularly to improve our understanding of the management actions needed to maintain the species. Collaboration between East Asian countries also is essential, to coordinate monitoring and to formulate effective protection measures for safeguarding this population in the future.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Ornis Fennica

Volume: 97 , Pages: 1-18.

Language: English

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Full reference: Markkola, J.A. & Karvonen, R.T. 2020. Changing environmental conditions and structure of a breeding population of the threatened Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus L.). Ornis Fennica 97: 1-18.

Keywords: breeding, broods, mortality, hunting, migration, lemmings, voles

Abstract:

Migratory birds breeding at high latitudes face challenges in relation to timing of breeding vs. annual weather, climate change, and predator abundance. Hunting pressure along migration routes and wintering quarters forms an additional challenge.We studied population structure and interaction with environmental factors in a small population of threatened Lesser White-fronted Geese Anser erythropus, living in sub-arctic zone in Lapland in 1989–1996. Thereafter the population disappeared. The population comprised 2–15 breeding pairs plus 0–12 non-breeders, which left in June to moult elsewhere. 30 broods were observed (0–8 annually) with an average number of 2.9 goslings. Of the 3 satellite tagged plus 7 ringed geese at least 3were shot and altogether 4 killed during the first year. Only 2 were seen alive next year or later. Laying started on average 4 June (21May – 13 June) and hatching took place 2 July (21 June–10 July) with an intra-seasonal clutch size decline. Variation in nesting initiation was not explained by local phenology, but instead by the date of staging peak in the last pre-breeding staging area 600 km south. Reproduction was affected negatively by cold spells and positively by the sum of daily effective temperatures by 5 July. Vole populations were low and a real cycle missing. No effect of reindeer abundance or human presence on reproduction could be found.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Nature Conservation Research

Volume: 4

DOI: 10.24189/ncr.2019.003

Language: English

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Full reference: Rozenfeld, S.B., Kirtaev, G.V., Rogova,N.V. & Soloviev, M.Y. 2019. Results of an aerial survey of the western population of Anser erythropus (Anserini) in autumn migration in Russia 2017. Nature Conservation Research 4. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.24189/ncr.2019.003

Keywords: aerial counts, Lesser White-fronted Goose, monitoring, Nenetsky Autonomous Okrug, Yamalo- Nenetsky Autonomous Okrug

Abstract:

The global population of Anser erythropus has rapidly declined since the middle of the 20th century. The decline in numbers has been accompanied by the fragmentation of the breeding range and is considered as «continuing affecting all populations, giving rise to fears that the species may go extinct». Overhunting, poaching and habitat loss are considered to be the main threats. The official estimate of the dimension of the decline is in the range of 30% to 49% between 1998 and 2008. Monitoring and the prospection of new areas are needed for the future conservation of this species. The eastern part of the Nenetsky Autonomous Okrug, the Baydaratskaya Bay and the Lower Ob (Dvuobye) are important territories for the Western main population of Anser erythropus on a flyway scale. Moving along the coast to the east, Anser erythropus can stay for a long time on the Barents Sea Coast, from where they fly over the Baydaratskaya Bay to the Dvuobye. We made aerial surveys and identified key sites and the main threats for Anser erythropus on this part of the flyway. According to our data, the numbers of the Western main population of Anser erythropus amount to 48 580 ± 2820 individuals after the breeding season, i.e. higher than the previous estimates made in autumn in Northern Kazakhstan. The key sites of Anser erythropus in this part of the flyway were identified.

Number of results: 153