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How the story ends for Decebal

Here is what colleague from ROS/BirdLife Romania report on the story about Decebal:

After last summer was interrupted the signal from the transmitter mounted on Darko. This happened  in Russia, on the road to nesting territories of Siberia. The same thing happened this winter with our champion - Decebal.

The last signal received from him was on November 15  from the Big Island of Braila. The weather was bad, no light and fog, which is a serious obstacle for recharging the solar battery satellite transmitter. We kept hoping that transmitter will restart, but by the end of February we have not received any signal. We found, therefore, that we have no chance to monitor Decebal.

Unfortunately, the fate of the two male red-breasted geese remains unclear, but the fact that both satellite transmitters suddenly stopped transmitting data suggest that either have failed or two birds were shot.

Satellite tracking has shown that approximately 50% (6 of 13 birds) of Lesser Whitefronts (Anser erythropus) were shot on their migration through Russia and Kazakhstan. For Redbreast several birds tagged with sat tags have indicated that they have been shot. Despite these obstacles, Decebalus managed to make a complete cycle of migration and show us that the territories of nesting and wintering. We believe that Decebal has accomplished its mission.

The spring migration lasted 97 days, of which 90 were used for rest stops in Kazakhstan and Russia, distance being 6384 miles. Upon returning to Romania, the migration of Decebal has lasted for 61 days with 50 days rest break in four locations, covering a distance of 5847 km. Differences between the migration duration can be explained by the fact that Redbreasts need to replenish more resources when preparing for the breedins season, so they make more and longer stops.  The greatest distance covered in one day was spring flight of 580 miles, and fall migration – 1169 kilometers.

Another important mission of Decebal is that we found that not all stop over sites for the Redbreasts are protected by law. Six of the 15 places of  stop overs of Decebal do not have legal protection. In Romania, Decebal confirmed the hypothesis in recent years that the Big Island of Braila became an important wintering.

This island Danube used 100% for crops is a protected area and pressure from hunters is very high. ROS/Birdlife Romania monitoring reports indicate that in the period November 2014-February 2015 more than 10,000 Redbreats were wintering in that area. ROS has already proposed expansion of agri-environmental measures and along the Danube, to ensure feeding places for the red-breasted goose in winter. The following steps should be designating roosting areas as protected areas and areas where no hunting is allowed.