Portal to the Lesser White-fronted Goose

- by the Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose project

Literature type: Thesis

Language: English

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Full reference: Markkola, J. 2022. Ecology and conservation of the Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus. , PhD thesis, Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A Scientiae Rerum Naturalium 770. Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, Finland.

Keywords: spring arrival, Anser erythropus, Anser fabalis, breeding schedule, habitat, diet selection, meadow management, population genetic structure, Finland

Abstract:

I studied the rare and threatened lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus), abbreviated LWfG in 1989–1996 in sub-arctic Finnish Lapland (I). The studied subpopulation consisted of 2–15 breeding pairs annually. A total of 30 broods were observed with an average of 2.9 goslings per brood. The 1st year survival of tagged 10 geese was low. Satellite locations, recoveries and resightings were received from NW Russia, Kazakhstan and the Azov Sea area. Cold spells had a negative, and the sum of effective temperatures by 5 July a positive influence on reproduction. Habitat selection (II) was studied in the same area. LWfG preferred the vicinity of water, flat close-range landscape, low forest height and intermediate relative altitudes. LWfG aggregated in the vicinity of conspecifics within the preferred habitats. The averaged RSF model assigned observation and random points correctly with 83.4% success. Locations of historical observations of LWfG matched the predicted distribution of breeding sites. (III) Spring migration patterns on the Bothnian Bay coast of LWfG were examined in 1907–1916 and 1949–2014 and the taiga bean goose (Anser fabalis fabalis) in 1975–2014. Arrival of the short-distance migrant A. fabalis advanced more and earlier than the long-distance migrant A. erythropus, 10.9 days since late 1980’s vs. 5.3 days since the beginning of the 2000’s. In the LWfG, the best model for explaining variation in timing included global and local temperatures, in A. fabalis global and local temperatures and winter NAO. Increasing global temperatures seem to explain trends in both. In the spring staging places of the Bothnian Bay almost all dietary items of the LWfG were Monocotyledons, mostly grasses growing in extensive sea-shore meadows (IV). Only Phragmites, Festuca and possibly Triglochin palustris were preferred. Lesser White-fronts preferred extensive natural meadows. Mowing and grazing benefit the restoration of habitats. Genetic structuring of the LWfG was examined in its whole distribution area from Fennoscandia to East Asia (V). A fragment of the control region of mtDNA was sequenced from 110 individuals. 15 mtDNA haplotypes were assigned to two mtDNA lineages. Molecular variance showed significant structuring among populations: the main western in north-western Russia – Central Siberia, the main eastern in East Asia and the Nordic one, which earns a status as an independent management unit.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Ecology and Evolution

Volume: 2021;00 , Pages: 1-14.

DOI: 10.1002/ece3.7310

Language: English

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Full reference: Tian, H., Solovyeva, d., Danilov, G., Vartanyan, S., Wen,L., Lei, J., Lu, C., Bridgewater, P., Lei, G. & Zeng, Q. 2021. Combining modern tracking data and historical records improves understanding of the summer habitats of the Eastern Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus. Ecology and Evolution 2021;00: 1-14. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7310

Keywords: Asia, Arctic, eastern population, GPS tracking, Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus, species distribution modeling, summer range

Abstract:

The Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus), smallest of the “gray” geese, is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and protected in all range states. There are three populations, with the least studied being the Eastern population, shared between Russia and China. The extreme remoteness of breeding enclaves makes them largely inaccessible to researchers. As a substitute for visitation, remotely tracking birds from wintering grounds allows exploration of their summer range. Over a period of three years, and using highly accurate GPS tracking devices, eleven individuals of A. erythropus were tracked from the key wintering site of China, to summering, and staging sites in northeastern Russia. Data obtained from that tracking, bolstered byground survey and literature records, were used to model the summer distribution of A. erythropus. Although earlier literature describes a patchy summer range, the model suggests a contiguous summer habitat range is possible, although observations to date cannot confirm A. erythropus is present throughout the modeled range. The most suitable habitats are located along the coasts of the Laptev Sea, primarily the Lena Delta, in the Yana-Kolyma Lowland, and smaller lowlands of Chukotka with narrow riparian extensions upstream along major rivers such as the Lena, Indigirka,and Kolyma. The probability of A. erythropus presence is related to areas with altitude less than 500 m with abundant wetlands, especially riparian habitat, and a climate with precipitation of the warmest quarter around 55 mm and mean temperature around 14°C during June-August. Human disturbance also affects site suitability, with a gradual decrease in species presence starting around 160 km from human settlements. Remote tracking of animal species can bridge the knowledge gap required for robust estimation of species distribution patterns in remote areas. Better knowledge of species' distribution is important in understanding the large-scale ecological consequences of rapid global change and establishing conservation management strategies.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Wildfowl

Volume: SpecIs 6 , Pages: 206–243.

Language: English

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Full reference: Ao, P., Wang, X., Solovyeva, D., Meng, F., Ikeuchi, T., Shimada, T., Park, J., Gao, D., Liu, G., Hu, B., Natsagdorj, T., Zheng, B., Vartanyan, S., Davaasuren, B., Zhang, J., Cao, L. & Fox, A. 2021. Rapid decline of the geographically restricted and globally threatened Eastern Palearctic Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus. Wildfowl SpecIs 6: 206–243.

Keywords: abundance, key sites, migration routes, population trends, telemetry tracking

Abstract:

The Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus, which breeds across northern Eurasia from Norway to Chukotka, is globally threatened and is currently classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Eastern Palearctic population of the species was thought to breed in arctic Russia, from east of the Taimyr Peninsula to Chukotka, and to winter in East Asia, but its precise status, abundance, breeding and wintering ranges, and migration routes were largely unknown, reducing the effectiveness of conservation efforts. In this paper, we combined results from satellite tracking, field surveys, a literature review and expert knowledge, to present an updated overview of the winter distribution and abundance of Lesser White-fronted Geese in the Eastern Palearctic, highlighting their migration corridors, habitat use and the conservation status of the key sites used throughout the annual cycle. Improved count coverage puts the Eastern Palearctic Lesser White-fronted Geese population at c. 6,800 birds in 2020, which represents a rapid and worrying decline since the estimate of 16,000 in 2015, as it suggests at least a halving of numbers in just five years. East Dongting Lake (Hunan Province) in China is the most important wintering site for the species in East Asia, followed by Poyang Lake (Jiangxi Province) and Caizi Lake (Anhui Province), with one key wintering site in Miyagi County in Japan. Satellite tracking showed that eight individuals captured during summer on the Rauchua River, Chukotka, Russia wintered in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River floodplain in China. Their migration speed was slower in spring than in autumn, mainly because of longer stopover duration at staging sites in spring. The tracked geese mainly used cultivated land on migration stopovers (52% in spring; 45% in autumn), tundra habitat in summer (63%), and wetlands (66%) in winter. Overall, 87% of the GPS fixes were in protected areas during the winter, far greater than in spring (37%), autumn (28%) and summer (7%). We urge more tracking of birds of differing wintering and breeding provenance to provide a fuller understanding of the migration routes, staging sites and breeding areas used by the geese, including for the birds wintering in Japan. The most urgent requirement is to enhance effective conservation and long-term monitoring of Lesser White-fronted Geese across sites within China, and particularly to improve our understanding of the management actions needed to maintain the species. Collaboration between East Asian countries also is essential, to coordinate monitoring and to formulate effective protection measures for safeguarding this population in the future.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Ornis Hungarica

Volume: 28 , Pages: 28–48.

DOI: 10.2478/orhu-2020-0003

Language: English (In English with Hungarian summary)

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Full reference: Zuban, I., Vilkov, V., Kalashnikov, M., Zhadan, K. & Bisseneva, A. 2020. The results of spring monitoring on the status of geese populations in the North Kazakhstan Region during 2011-2018. Ornis Hungarica 28: 28–48. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.2478/orhu-2020-0003

Keywords: monitoring, Kazakhstan, Northern Kazakhstan, spring staging

Abstract:

The article presents the results of monitoring studies on the population dynamics of goose species at one of the largest stopover sites in Northern Kazakhstan during the springs of 2011–2018. Comparative analysis of the phenological phases at the beginning and end of migration over a 50 year period is conducted and changes in timing of migration for the studied groups are established. Data on the number of flocks at various stages of the migration process are presented. Authors revealed characteristics of the distribution of birds in the directions of migration through the region associated with the presence of various migration strategies. Based on the distribution and number of geese in the region for rest and feeding, key zones with characteristics of their natural and anthropogenic state were identified. It has been established that water bodies and large areas have optimal conditions for rest and replenishment of energy reserves for the birds.

Literature type: Report

Language: English

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Full reference: Vougioukalou, M. & Manolopoulos, A. 2020. Monitoring the Lesser White-fronted Goose in Greece 2018 - 2020. , Hellenic Ornithological Society / BirdLife Greece. 13pp.

Keywords: Greece, monitoring, Kerkini Lake, Evros Delta, wintering, space use, telemetry, mr. Blue

Literature type: General

Journal: Tringa

Volume: 2/2020 , Pages: 47-50.

Language: Finnish (In Finnish)

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Full reference: Tolvanen, P. 2020. Voiko Tringan alueella vielä nähdä villin ja vapaan kiljuhanhen? [Is it still possible to see a wild LWfG in of the region of Uusimaa, southern Finland?], Tringa: 2/2020, 47-50.

Keywords: Finland, occurrence, distribution, numbers, population size, satellite tracking, mr. Blue

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Ecology and Evolution

Volume: 10 , Pages: 5281-5292.

DOI: 10.1002/ece3.6272

Language: English

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Full reference: Pingyang, Z., Ye-ai, Z., Yonghong, X., Siqi, Z., Xinsheng, C., Feng, L., Zhengmiao, D., Hong, Z. & Wei, T. 2020. Hydrology-driven responses of herbivorous geese in relation to changes in food quantity and quality. Ecology and Evolution 10: 5281-5292. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6272

Keywords: Bean goose, diet, Dongting Lake, wetland, food shortage, habitat selection, China

Abstract:

East Dongting Lake is a Ramsar site and a particularly important wintering ground for herbivorous geese along the East Asian‐Australasian Flyway. The operation of the Three Gorges Dam has changed the water regime and has a significant impact on wetland ecosystems downstream. We studied the responses of two sympatric herbivorous goose species, the Lesser white‐fronted goose Anser erythropus and Bean goose Anser fabalis, to habitat change by investigating their food conditions, habitat selection, and diet composition in the wintering periods of 2016/2017 and 2017/2018, which had early and late water recession, respectively. It was expected that the contrasting water regimes would result in different food conditions and geese responses. The results showed that the food quality and quantity differed significantly between winters. As responses to the high‐quantity/low‐quality food during 2016/2017, more geese switched to feeding on mudflat and exploited plants such as dicotyledons and moss. The tall swards of Carex spp. (dominant plants in the meadow) that developed during the first growing season decreased the food accessibility during the second growing season and hindered the exploitation of newly generated shoots by the geese, which was further confirmed by our clipping control experiment. Nearly all the geese chose to feed on meadow, and Carex spp. made up the majority of their diet in 2017/2018 when there was more low‐quantity/high‐quality food. Compared with the globally vulnerable Lesser white‐fronted geese, the larger‐sized Bean geese seemed to be less susceptible to winter food shortages and exhibited more stable responses. We concluded that the food quality–quantity condition was the external factor influencing the geese responses, while morphological and physiological traits could be the internal factors causing different responses between the two species. This study enhanced the understanding of the influence that habitat change exerts on herbivorous geese in their wintering site in the context of the Three Gorges Dam operation. We suggested that regulating hydrological regime was important in terms of wetland management and species conservation.

Literature type: Thesis

Language: English

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Full reference: Marolla, F. 2020. Understanding and forecasting population dynamics in changing arctic ecosystems. A holistic approach to study the effects of environmental changes on arctic populations of management concern. , Doctoral thesis, Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, The Arctic University of Norway.

Keywords: population dynamics, culling, mortality, production, Fennoscandia

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Ornis Fennica

Volume: 97 , Pages: 1-18.

Language: English

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Full reference: Markkola, J.A. & Karvonen, R.T. 2020. Changing environmental conditions and structure of a breeding population of the threatened Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus L.). Ornis Fennica 97: 1-18.

Keywords: breeding, broods, mortality, hunting, migration, lemmings, voles

Abstract:

Migratory birds breeding at high latitudes face challenges in relation to timing of breeding vs. annual weather, climate change, and predator abundance. Hunting pressure along migration routes and wintering quarters forms an additional challenge.We studied population structure and interaction with environmental factors in a small population of threatened Lesser White-fronted Geese Anser erythropus, living in sub-arctic zone in Lapland in 1989–1996. Thereafter the population disappeared. The population comprised 2–15 breeding pairs plus 0–12 non-breeders, which left in June to moult elsewhere. 30 broods were observed (0–8 annually) with an average number of 2.9 goslings. Of the 3 satellite tagged plus 7 ringed geese at least 3were shot and altogether 4 killed during the first year. Only 2 were seen alive next year or later. Laying started on average 4 June (21May – 13 June) and hatching took place 2 July (21 June–10 July) with an intra-seasonal clutch size decline. Variation in nesting initiation was not explained by local phenology, but instead by the date of staging peak in the last pre-breeding staging area 600 km south. Reproduction was affected negatively by cold spells and positively by the sum of daily effective temperatures by 5 July. Vole populations were low and a real cycle missing. No effect of reindeer abundance or human presence on reproduction could be found.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Bulletin of Nizhnevartovsk State University

Volume: 2020(1) , Pages: 98–103.

DOI: 10.36906/2311-4444/20-1/15

Language: Russian (In Russian with English summary)

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Full reference: Emtsev, A. A. & Porgunyov, A. V. 2020. Additional information about the lesser white-fronted goose migration stops in the Surgut district of the Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous okrug — Ugra and the problem of species conservation. Bulletin of Nizhnevartovsk State University 2020(1): 98–103. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.36906/2311-4444/20-1/15

Keywords: migration, hunting, conservation, central part of Western Siberia

Abstract:

The analysis of the photographs sent by the hunters from Sytomino village, Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra, together with the further survey detected the place of migration stops of Lesser White-fronted Geese in the Middle Ob valley. The birds were staying at the small lake 3.5 km east of the village. On September 12, 2011, one wounded individual was found near the lake at the complex raised bog 9.5 km southwest of the city of Lyantor. Several ways can be suggested by us to save flying Lesser Whitefronted Geese and other species of vulnerable animals at the territory of the autonomous okrug. This will include the following measures to take: an obligatory exam for hunters to be able to identify some species of the regional fauna; large penalties for illegal hunting, more active propaganda of respect for nature and educational work and developing hunting culture. The article also covers economic and organizational issues.

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