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Bulgaria- U.S. Red Breasted Goose Project

The Project aims to support the Branta Conservation Center to expand cooperation and strengthen the effectiveness of local nature conservation groups. The work on the project involves winter surveys for the red-breasted goose, develop partnerships with local and regional institutions to ensure compliance with hunting regulations, facilitate agreements with large cooperatives, agriculture companies and farmers in the coastal Dobrudja region, raise public awareness to promote conservation action, facilitate greater synergy and international and within country cooperation among partners and stakeholders to implement priority actions indentified in the SSAP. The project works to increase knowledge of movements and behavior on wintering grounds, migration routes, threats on stop over sites. A rehabilitation aviary for sick and injured red-breasted geese and other endangered or threatened species has been set up.

SUMMARY OF MAIN ACTIVITIES :

A website was developed and established in late 2012 to provide project information (www.redbreastedgoose.org). Two male and one female red breasted geese were captured with noose traps and deployed with Argos/GPS solar powered transmitters in February 2012, and three male red breasted geese were captured with noose traps and deployed with Argos/GPS solar powered transmitters in February 2013.

One bird in 2012 provided migration data and was killed by a hunter in Kazakhastan. All three sat tagged birds in 2013 successfully completed their journey to the nesting grounds. Data will be analyzed to determine many aspects of rbg migration but most immediately we will identify the most important stop over sites to initiate greater protection efforts with respective governments from legal and illegal hunting along the migration route.

Several presentations were given about the goals of the Bulgaria -U.S. Red-breasted Goose Project, the plight of this species, and its urgent conservation needs at the Branta Birding Lodge & Conservation Center to biology students from Sofia University and local Schools. In addition, the center is providing free offices for project personnel and volunteers in support of the RBG conservation activities.

Waterfowl Rehabilitation Aviary was established in Durankulak located immediately adjacent to the Branta Birding Lodge & Conservation Centre.  In winter, the aviary is used for care and healing of sick and injured Red-breasted Geese and other rare or endangered waterfowl. Three sign boards have been set up and placed around Lake Durankulak including photos, maps and detailed information about the Bulgaria-U.S. RBG Project.

The Bulgaria-US RBG Project has been a full participant in the mid-winter counts for Red-breasted and White-fronted Geese. The activities include the counts of wintering waterbird populations in the Coastal Dobrudgea. Patrolling and observation activities for prevention of poaching are conducted as part of our programme against illegal hunting and fishing in wetlands especially through the strategic position of Branta Conservation Centre overlooking Lake Durankulak, which allows us to alert the Regional Inspectorate of Environment.

A leaflet about the Bulgaria-US RBG Project has been published and disseminated in the regions of significance for the conservation of the species. Cooperation has been developed with other international projects, NGO’s or individuals involved in the conservation of the species along the Red-breasted Goose flyway.

Tracks of the tagged birds of the project