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Conservation of the Red-breasted Goose along the Global Flyway

DURATION: September 2017 – Ongoing

MAIN BENEFICIARY: Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds


Romania - SOR/BirdLife Romania, Association of Romanian Hunters & Anglers, ROMSILVA National Forestry  Agency – Small Wetland of Braila Natural Park, Ministry of Environment of Romania;

Ukraine - National Natural Park “Tuzlovsky Limani”, Regional Ecological Organization “Renaissance”;

Russia - Geese and Swans Study Group of Norht Eurasia, State Biosphere Reserve “Chenjie Zemli” ;

Kazakhstan - Association for the Conservation Biodiversity of Kazakhstan/BirdLife Kazakhstan, “ABS Zharkol” Ltd

This is the first ever project to target the whole flyway range of the species and tackle conservation problems simultaneously in the five key range states. The project will make a major contribution to the conservation of the Red-breasted Goose within the EU and within the global flyway as well. This is the first ever project to target the whole flyway range of the species and tackle conservation problems simultaneously in the five key range states where the International Action Plan is to be delivered. The techniques employed as part of this project will be replicable for other species facing similar conservation problems and the project can be considered a global-wide effort for Red-breasted Goose preservation. It becomes even more important, given that it covers 100% of the world population of the species.  The Project aims to implement actions to deliver on 4 out of  8 target results of the AEWA International Species Action Plan - results 1, 5, 6, 7 (Cranswick et al., 2012).

The main objectives of the Project are :

1. Improve knowledge on the importance of specific threats and the migration ecology and current distribution of the Red-breasted Goose

2. Engage stakeholders and implement set of conservation measures to reduce direct and indirect mortality from hunting and disturbance at the project sites and along the global flyway.

2. Engage stakeholders to develop management practices for Red-breasted Goose conservation at key sites and enhance conditions for the species.

3. Ensure engangement of communities and stakeholders to enhance community pride in and support for the conservation of Red-breasted Geese, and the Natura 2000 and other key sites that they depend on.

4. The species’ status and the effect of action plan implementation, assessed by comprehensive monitoring system in all range countries along the flyway

The Project will involve a suite of actions linked together to achieve the project objectives:

  • Investigate threats and survival during spring migration of the species, using satellite telemetry to allow planning adequate conservation measures along the flyway.
  • Study and map the current winter distribution to identify key sites for conservation actions
  • Investigate and assess the hunting pressure and practices at keys sites along the flyway to plan adequate conservation and mitigation measures to reduce threats
  • Map the areas used by geese for roosting, flightlines and feeding and create map of key areas to guide development intentions and national and regional decision making
  • Adopt National Species Action Plan for Kazakhstan and Romania and advocate for appropriate management prescriptions to be incorporated into SPA management
  • Develop and establish monitoring scheme to monitor the status of the population and assess the impact of conservation actions
  • Testing of pilot creating of safe feeding opportunities in non-hunting zones through habitat restoration and land management
  • Reduce direct killing and disturbance of Red-breasted Goose at roosts sites (by poachers) by introducing new patrol schemes, techniques and systems at key sites
  • Reduce disturbance and minimize poaching impact at key sites by initiation of mixed patrol schemes and developing and introducing new management hunting regulations to minimise disturbnce by hunting on non-target and non-game species
  • Improve knowledge and capacity of hunting experts, control staff and conservationa and hunting managers to implement correct policies and take conservation sound decisions through set of specialised trainings including the involvement of leading international experts on sustainable waterfowl harvesting practices
  • Reduce possibilitie for mortality due to powerlines collision at key sites of concentrations in Bulgaria
  • A suit of communications and awareness of actions will aim to increase awareness about species conservation, improve knowledge about the species and its key sites and increase community pride in the species and the value of its conservation.

Major results expected:

1) Increased knowledge on key areas and threats for the species

2) 30 Red-breasted Geese tracked by satellite tags to provide survival data and reveal the importance of the major threats and guide future conservation measures.

3) Data on hunting pressure and poaching activities systematically collected following common methodology to support conservation and mitigation measures.

4) Improved knowledge of thedistribution of the species and the key concentration areas to help better planning of the conservation actions directed to maintain the population at favourable level.

5) Population data for the species on global level collected over 3 winter seasons to allow BirdLife International and IUCN to reassess the conservation and threat status of the species.

6) National Action Plans for the Red-breasted Goose in Romania and Kazakhstan developed to guide the conservation efforts and integrate species conservation priorities into national policies in those countries.

7) Creation of 200 ha buffer zone managed grassland for feeding habitat of the geese at key bottle neck site for the species - Manych Gudilo Lake to reduce mortality during spring migration in Russia.

8) Reduce species mortality during spring hunting in Russia by closing/regulating the spring hunting in 3 regional subjects of the Russian Federation and introduction of temporary reserve areas and rest zones at key staging sites during peak of RBG.

9 ) Reduced pressure on the stagging flocks of Red-breasted Geese in Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine by introducing new patrol schemes to prevent disturbance.

10) Reduce disturbance and killing of the species during migration in Kazkahstan through introduction of new zonation in key staging sites and new management techniques, creating habitat and conditions to attract migrating geese for staging on over 90 000ha.

11) Reduced collision with powerlines in Bulgaria through installation of bird divertors along 4 km power-lines in key areas for the Red-breasted Goose in Bulgaria.

12) At least 30 experts and managers will be trained on issues of innovative approaches for sustainable harvesting of waterbirds and mitigation of hunting pressure through a set of three workshops in Bulgaria, Romania and Kazakhstan.

migrating red-breasted geese - © Nicky Petkov/www.naturephotos.eu
© Nicky Petkov/www.naturephotos.eu
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funded by EU LIFE Program