Literature type: Scientific
Journal: Biological Conservation
Full reference: Marolla, F., Aarvak, T. Hamel, S., Ims, R.A., Kéry, M., Mellard, J.P., Nater, C.R., Schaub, M., Vougioukalou, M., Yoccoz, N.G. & Øien, I.J. 2023. Life-cycle analysis of an endangered migratory goose to assess the impact of conservation actions on population recovery. Biological Conservation 281. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2023.110028
Keywords: Goose management, State-space model, Management evaluation, Lesser white-fronted goose, Unmarked individuals, Non-breeding dynamics, migration
Evaluating the effectiveness of conservation actions is challenging for migratory species because a population can be impacted anywhere along its route. Conservation actions for the critically endangered Fennoscandian lesser white-fronted goose population include culling of red foxes in the breeding area and habitat improvements and reduction of illegal hunting in the non-breeding areas. One goal of the predator control strategy is to prevent adult birds from using an autumn migration route through western Asia, where mortality is believed to be higher than on the migration route through eastern Europe. We used 23 years of count data obtained at different staging areas to parameterize a seasonal state-space model describing the full-annual cycle dynamics of this population and evaluate whether the recent population recovery was linked to these conservation efforts. The results did not provide evidence that predator control influenced population recovery, as survival on the European route did not appear higher than on the allegedly riskier Asian route. However, adult survival at staging areas on both routes and at wintering sites may have improved in the last decade, suggesting a positive effect of the other conservation initiatives. These results emphasize the importance of including the non-breeding dynamics in population assessments of migratory species and highlight the challenge of evaluating the efficacy of separate conservation actions when a proper experimental design is unfeasible. Our study, which is a unique case of cross-national, coordinated conservation efforts, exemplifies how to model complex population dynamics to assess the influence of costly conservation initiatives.
Literature type: Thesis
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
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
Volume: 11 , Pages: 1946
Full reference: Fan, R., Lei, J., Wu, E., Lu, C., Jia, Y., Zeng, Q. & Lei, G. 2022. Species distribution modelling of the breeding site distribution gaps of Lesser White-fronted Goose in Siberia under climate change. Land 11: 1946 https://www.dx.doi.org/10.3390/land11111946
Keywords: climate change, breeding sites, conservation gaps, species habitat conservation, Siberia, Russia
Climate change has become an important cause of the loss of bird habitat and changes in bird migration and reproduction. The lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus) has a wide range of migratory habits and is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. In this study, the distribution of suitable breeding grounds for the lesser white-fronted goose was assessed in Siberia, Russia, using a combination of satellite tracking and climate change data. The characteristics of the distribution of suitable breeding sites under different climate scenarios in the future were predicted using the Maxent model, and protection gaps were assessed. The analysis showed that under the background of future climate change, temperature and precipitation will be the main climatic factors affecting the distribution of breeding grounds, and the area associated with suitable breeding habitats will present a decreasing trend. Areas listed as an optimal habitat only accounted for 3.22% of the protected distribution; however, 1,029,386.341 km2 of optimal habitat was observed outside the protected area. Obtaining species distribution data is important for developing habitat protection in remote areas. The results presented here can provide a basis for developing species-specific habitat management strategies and indicate that additional attention should be focused on protecting open spaces.
Literature type: Scientific
Journal: Ecology and Evolution
Volume: 2021;00 , Pages: 1-14.
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
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
Volume: SpecIs 6 , Pages: 206–243.
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
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: Report
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: Scientific
Journal: Ornis Fennica
Volume: 97 , Pages: 1-18.
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
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.
Language: Russian (In Russian with English summary)Download:
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
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.
Literature type: Scientific
Journal: Nature Conservation Research
Full reference: Rozenfeld, S.B., Kirtaev, G.V., Rogova,N.V. & Soloviev, M.Y. 2019. Results of an aerial survey of the western population of Anser erythropus (Anserini) in autumn migration in Russia 2017. Nature Conservation Research 4. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.24189/ncr.2019.003
Keywords: aerial counts, Lesser White-fronted Goose, monitoring, Nenetsky Autonomous Okrug, Yamalo- Nenetsky Autonomous Okrug
The global population of Anser erythropus has rapidly declined since the middle of the 20th century. The decline in numbers has been accompanied by the fragmentation of the breeding range and is considered as «continuing affecting all populations, giving rise to fears that the species may go extinct». Overhunting, poaching and habitat loss are considered to be the main threats. The official estimate of the dimension of the decline is in the range of 30% to 49% between 1998 and 2008. Monitoring and the prospection of new areas are needed for the future conservation of this species. The eastern part of the Nenetsky Autonomous Okrug, the Baydaratskaya Bay and the Lower Ob (Dvuobye) are important territories for the Western main population of Anser erythropus on a flyway scale. Moving along the coast to the east, Anser erythropus can stay for a long time on the Barents Sea Coast, from where they fly over the Baydaratskaya Bay to the Dvuobye. We made aerial surveys and identified key sites and the main threats for Anser erythropus on this part of the flyway. According to our data, the numbers of the Western main population of Anser erythropus amount to 48 580 ± 2820 individuals after the breeding season, i.e. higher than the previous estimates made in autumn in Northern Kazakhstan. The key sites of Anser erythropus in this part of the flyway were identified.
Literature type: Report
Full reference: Vougioukalou, M. (compiler) 2018. Monitoring the Lesser White-fronted Goose in Greece 2017 - 2018. , Hellenic Ornithological Society / BirdLife Greece. 33 pp.
Keywords: monitoring, Greece, numbers
Number of results: 167