Portal to the Lesser White-fronted Goose

- by the Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose project

Sponsors and Main Partners

The Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose project has been a fruitful and long lasting co-operation between the Norwegian Ornithologial Society, WWF-Finland and the Norwegian Environment Agency. Since its early start in mid 1980s also other co-operation partners and sponsors have joined the struggle to save the Lesser White-fronted Goose from extinction. It is specially worth mentioning the effortes carried out by the AEWA International Working Group for the Lesser White-fronted Goose and financial contributions through two EU Life projects.

The site piskulka.net is developed and maintained by Peter S. Ranke and Tomas Aarvak, the Norwegian ornithological Society.

Norwegian ornithological Society

Since 1987, the Norwegian Ornithological Society (NOF) has run the Lesser White-fronted Goose Monitoring and Conservation Project. The first years were spent on mapping breeding and staging areas as well as studies on the reasons for the population decline within the borders of Norway. These studies revealed that the main causes had to be sought along the migration routes and in the wintering areas. The core problem was, and partly still is, that the staging and wintering grounds for the species are virtually unknown. Due to the steady and alarming decrease in the Fennoscandian breeding population of Lesser White-fronted Goose, actions were needed to locate the staging and the wintering grounds. In 1993 NOF initiated a project in co-operation with WWF-Finland on locating the staging sites along the migration routes and in the wintering grounds for the Fennoscandian population by employing the new technology of miniature satellite transmitters as well as other marking and tracking methods. This work has continued and has proved very fruitful. A turning point in the conservation work for Lesser White-fronted Geese was the discovery of the loop-migration route from Fennoscandia to Greece via Taimyr in Russia in 2006. After that, the focus on securing the Lesser White-fronted Geese in the breeding areas has increased.

There is still a lack of knowledge about where the Fennoscandian Lesser-White-fronted Geese spend part of the winter after arriving to Greece in October-November. This mystery site(s) is now the main focus for current and near future tracking studies of the Fennoscandian population.

Already in 1995, the results of the tracking studies resulted in the establishment of a Nature Reserve at the Kanin Peninsula in Russia. Tracking studies has revealed the flyways of the Fennoscandian population can be divided in an eastern and a western migration route. Both routes however, ending up at the same wintering sites in Greece. At both migration routes, work is in progress to reduce the impact of hunting in the staging and wintering areas. Also in this work, we co-operate closely with BirdLife International and BirdLife-partners in the countries where staging and wintering areas are localized. From 2005 onwards much of the work has been carried out through LIFE-EU/LIFE+ projects were NOF plays an active role. NOF has a particular close co-operation with the Finnish Lesser White-fronted Goose Monitoring and Conservation project run by WWF-Finland.

The Norwegian project is lead by Dr. Ingar Jostein Øien.

Information in Norwegian»

WWF Finland

The Lesser White-fronted Goose (later LWfG) was legally protected in Finland in 1969, and the species ranked in the highest category (CR, Critically Endangered) in the Finnish Red Data book. The Finnish working group for Lesser White-fronted Goose was formed by WWF Finland in 1983, and since then the Finnish LWfG project has been one of the species conservation projects of WWF Finland. Since the 1980's, the Finnish LWfG project has monitored the staging areas of the Lesser White-fronted Goose on the Finnish Bothnian Bay coast Finland annually, made extensive surveys of the breeding areas in Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian Lapland, carried out research work on the biology of the LWfG. The monitoring of the staging grounds carried out by the Finnish LWfG project has also covered western Estonia (April-May), and the Tana River Valley and Varangerfjord areas in northern Norway (May-June, August-September). Information about the alarming situation of the LWfG has been distributed to authorities, organizations and journals concerned with ornithology, hunting and conservation.

Since the 1990's, the Finnish and Norwegian Lesser White-fronted Goose projects joint as the Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose project. Satellite tracking and ringing, followed by field surveys of the located sites, has been the main tool in the conservation work. Since 1996, the Finnish LWfG project has carried out field research in many areas, e.g. on Kola Peninsula, Kanin Peninsula, Yamal Peninsula, Taimyr Peninsula, in Kazakstan, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Syria, and China.

The Finnish Ministry of the Environment and WWF has funded the main part of the activities of the Finnish LWfG project. The Finnish LWfG project has official status as an adviser of the Finnish Ministry of the Environment concerning conservation of LWfG. Since 2009 WWF Finland has been hosting the Finnish national LWfG working group that is planning and following the implementation of the Finnish national action plan for the species. In the years 1997-2000, major part of the LWfG conservation activities in Finland were carried out by a Finnsih national LWfG Life-Nature project supported by the European Union. In 2005-2009, WWF Finland lead an international Life-Nature project, titled Conservation of the Lesser White-fronted Goose on European migration route, and WWF Finland is also actively taking part in the present follow-up LIFE+ project, lead by BirdLife Greece. More information about this project can be found at the project website at wwf.fi/lwfg.

The current chairman of the Finnish LWfG project (internet page in Finnish») is Dr. Petri Lampila and secretary is Dr. Riikka Kaartinen.

Norwegian Environment Agency

Sponsoring bird conservation through defined national and international action plans are amongst the Norwegian Environment Agencys key tools for efficient targeting conservation of prioritized flyway populations, amongst them are the Lesser White-fronted Goose (LWfG).

The Norwegian Environment Agency (until 1. July 2013 named the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management) is a government agency under the Ministry of the Environment. We assist the Government in its environmental protection work at national and international level.

As the national wildlife management authority we serve as an executive and advisory body, and amongst the main areas of responsibility are the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

The Norwegian Environment Agencys overall objective is to maintain the diversity of Norway’s nature and landscapes and to ensure sound and sustainable use of the natural environment.

The Norwegian Nature Inspectorate (SNO) as a department of the Norwegian Environment Agency is responsible for control and inspection to protect the environment and prevent environmental crime, and for practical management tasks. Among these is a red fox culling program in the core breeding area of the remaining population of the Fennoscandian LWfG.

The Norwegian Environment Agencys work on LWfG is within the framework of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and the AEWA International Single Species Action Plan (ISSAP) for the Conservation of the LWfG. Norway has financially supported implementation of this plan, including funding of programmes in different parts of the flyway, as well as the EU Life program. Based on the ISSAP Norway has also developed a National Action plan. To achieve all these targets, we work closely with other authorities and interest groups, and for more than 20 years DN has been cooperating with Norwegian Ornithological Society on the LWfG-issues. National monitoring, tracking studies and fact finding missions in different countries are common actions of high importance. The collaboration and actions in Russia (as part of the Norwegian-Russian Environmental Commission) have lasted for two decades and continue to be of significant value.

EU LIFE+ Safeguarding the Lesser White-fronted Goose Fennoscandian population in key wintering and staging sites within the European flyway

The Lesser White-fronted Goose Life project “Safeguarding the Lesser White-fronted Goose Fennoscandian population in key wintering and staging sites within the European flyway” is an international EU LIFE+ Nature project that aims to halt the decline of the critically endangered Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose (LWfG) population by implementing concrete conservation actions. The project started in September 2011 and continues until June 2016. The project is deply involved in collecting and organizing data on observations and sites utilized by the LWfG. See the observation page for details!

The online reporting of LWfG observations is being implemented in co-operation with the LWfG EU LIFE+ project.

EU Life+ project