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: 8 , Pages: 197-207.

DOI: 10.1007/s10592-006-9162-5

Language: English

Full reference: Ruokonen, M., Andersson, A.-C. & Tegelström, H. 2007. Using historical captive stocks in conservation. The case of the lesser white-fronted goose. Conservation Genetics 8: 197-207. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10592-006-9162-5

Keywords: Hybrid, Captive, Supplementation, Reintroduction, Lesser white-fronted goose, Anser erythropus


Many captive stocks of economically or otherwise valuable species were established before the decline of the wild population. These stocks are potentially valuable sources of genetic variability, but their taxonomic identity and actual value is often uncertain. We studied the genetics of captive stocks of the threatened lesser white-fronted goose Anser erythropus maintained in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe. Analyses of mtDNA and nuclear microsatellite markers revealed that 36% of the individuals had a hybrid ancestry. Because the parental species are closely related it is unlikely that our analyses detected all hybrid individuals in the material. Because no ancestral polymorphism or introgression was observed in samples of wild populations, it is likely that the observed hybridisation has occurred in captivity. As a consequence of founder effect, drift and hybridisation, captive stocks were genetically differentiated from the wild populations of the lesser white-fronted goose. The high level of genetic diversity in the captive stocks is explained at least partially by hybridisation. The present captive stocks of the lesser white-fronted goose are considered unsuitable for further reintroduction, or supplementation: hybridisation has involved three species, the number of hybrids is high, and all the investigated captive stocks are similarly affected. The results highlight the potential shortcomings of using captive-bred individuals in supplementation and reintroduction projects, when the captive stocks have not been pedigreed and bred according to conservation principles.

Number of results: 2