Portal to the Lesser White-fronted Goose

- by the Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose project

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 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: Nature Conservation Research

Volume: 4

DOI: 10.24189/ncr.2019.003

Language: English

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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

Abstract:

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: Scientific

Journal: Scientific reports

Volume: 8 , Pages: 214.

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-18594-2

Language: English

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Full reference: Jie, L., Xiang, G., Guangming, Z., Shanshan, H., Minzhou, Z., Xiaodong, L., & Xin, L. 2018. Coupling modern portfolio theory and marxan enhances the efficiency of Lesser White-fronted Goose’s (Anser erythropus) habitat conservation. Scientific reports 8: 214. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-18594-2

Keywords: ecological modelling, climate change, conservation, habitat restoration, Jiangxi, Yangtze, China

Abstract:

Climate change and human activities cause uncertain changes to species biodiversity by altering their habitat. The uncertainty of climate change requires planners to balance the benefit and cost of making conservation plan. Here optimal protection approach for Lesser White-fronted Goose (LWfG) by coupling Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) and Marxan selection were proposed. MPT was used to provide suggested weights of investment for protected area (PA) and reduce the influence of climatic uncertainty, while Marxan was utilized to choose a series of specific locations for PA. We argued that through combining these two commonly used techniques with the conservation plan, including assets allocation and PA chosing, the efficiency of rare bird’s protection would be enhanced. In MPT analyses, the uncertainty of conservation-outcome can be reduced while conservation effort was allocated in Hunan, Jiangxi and Yangtze River delta. In Marxan model, the optimal location for habitat restorations based on existing nature reserve was identified. Clear priorities for the location and allocation of assets could be provided based on this research, and it could help decision makers to build conservation strategy for LWfG.

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Wildfowl

Volume: 68 , Pages: 44-69.

Language: English

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Full reference: Cuthbert, R.J., Aarvak, T., Boros, E., Eskelin, T., Fedorenko, V., Karvonen, R., Kovalenko, A., Lehikoinen, S., Petkov, N., Szilágy, A., Tar, J., Timonen, S., Timoshenko, A., Zhadan, K. & Zuban, I. 2018. Estimating the autumn staging abundance of migratory goose species in northern Kazakhstan. Wildfowl 68: 44-69.

Keywords: Anser erythropus, Branta ruficollis, flyway population estimates, sampling methodology.

Abstract:

Northern Kazakhstan and adjoining areas of Russia have vitally important autumn staging sites for arctic breeding geese, especially for the globally threatened Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus (LWfG) and Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis (RbG). Part of the Fennoscandian and the entire Western Main subpopulations of LWfG and the global population of RbGs are believed to stage there, which facilitates obtaining up-to-date population estimates for these species. A total of 80 lakes were surveyed across four survey areas in autumn 2016, recording more than 1.2 million geese in the region. Greater White-fronted Geese Anser albifrons (GWfG) were the most abundant with an estimated c. 890,000 birds, with counts of c. 250,000 Greylag Geese Anser anser, c. 53,000 Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea, c. 39,100 RbG and c. 32,000 LWfG also recorded during the surveys. Based on a priori lake classification for both LWfG and RbG, to stratify survey lakes in order to generate total population estimates, survey teams visited a sample of different lake types. After removing lakes smaller than the observed minimum lake size used by each species, the total number of potential lakes available within the core staging areas of each species (335 lakes of > 320 ha for LWfG; 361 lakes of > 100 ha for RbG) was calculated. Bootstrapping procedures, with replacement, were then used to estimate the total numbers likely to be present in the region. These calculations produced total estimates of 34,250 birds (95% confidence intervals = 28,500–40,100 birds) for the Western Main population of LWfG (well in excess of current population estimates of 8,000–13,000 individuals) and an estimated population of 50,100 RbG (95% CI = 28,100–72,600 birds), broadly similar to recent population estimates of 55,000–57,000. We recommend that future surveys continue to monitor as large a region and as many lakes as possible in order to capture inter-annual variation in the distribution of birds and to provide more reliable assessments of population size and trends of these migratory species.

Literature type: Rep.article

Language: English

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Full reference: Aarvak, T., Øien, I.J. & Morozov, V.V. 2018. Western main Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus. , Pp. 43-44 in Fox, A.D. & Leafloor, J.O. (eds.). A Global Audit of the Status and Trends of Arctic and Northern Hemisphere Goose Populations (Component 2: Population accounts). CAFF: Akureyri, Iceland. ISBN 978-9935-431-74-5.

Keywords: population status, Wester main, Russia

Literature type: Rep.article

Language: English

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Full reference: Aarvak, T. & Øien, I.J. 2018. Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus - Fennoscandian population. , Pp. 40-42 in Fox, A.D. & Leafloor, J.O. (eds.). A Global Audit of the Status and Trends of Arctic and Northern Hemisphere Goose Populations (Component 2: Population accounts). CAFF: Akureyri, Iceland. ISBN 978-9935-431-74-5.

Keywords: population status, Fennoscandia, Norway

Literature type: General

Journal: Goose Bulletine

Volume: 22 , Pages: 17-24

Language: English

Full reference: Rozenfeld, S. & Kirtaev, G. 2017. Monitoring and identification of key sites of Lesser White-fronted goose (Anser erythropus) in Baydaratskaya Bay and adjacent territories. Goose Bulletine: 22, 17-24

Keywords: Russia, survey, Yamal Peninsula, Baydaratskaya Bay, ultra-light hydroplane, arial survey,

Literature type: Scientific

Journal: Bird Conservation International

Volume: 27 , Pages: 355-370.

DOI: 10.1017/S0959270916000393

Language: English

Full reference: Karmiris, I., Kazantzidis, S., Platis, P. & Papachristou, T.G. 2017. Diet selection by wintering Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus and the role of food availability. Bird Conservation International 27: 355-370. https://www.dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0959270916000393

Keywords: diet selection, food availability, diet composition, droppings, protein, Kerkini Lake, Echinochloa crus-galli, Cyperus esculentus, Scirpus lacustris, Ranunculus sceleratus

Abstract:

The Fennoscandian population of the Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus (LWfG) is on the verge of extinction and migrates from northern Fennoscandia to Greece on a regular seasonal basis. For the first time, diet selection was investigated during two years at Kerkini Lake, a wintering site in Greece. The relative use of LWfG’s feeding habitats was systematically recorded by visual observations of the LWfG flocks. Food availability was measured by the relative cover of available vegetation types while the diet composition was determined by the microhistological analysis of droppings. In addition, we determined crude protein, neutral detergent fibre, acid detergent fibre and acid detergent lignin content of the most preferred plant species by LWfG and all vegetation categories that contributed to LWfG diet in the middle of the duration of their stay at Kerkini Lake and after their departure from the lake. LWfG feeding habitat was exclusively marshy grassland in water less than 5 cm deep up to 300–400 m away from the shore. LWfG selected a diverse number of plant species (33), however, grass made up the 58% of their diets. The most preferred plant species were Echinochloa crus-galli, Cyperus esculentus, Scirpus lacustris and Ranunculus sceleratus. LWfG departed from Kerkini Lake in mid-December to the Evros Delta (Thrace, eastern Greece), when either food availability falls in very low levels or flooding occurred in their main feeding habitat. Consequently, as long as food and habitat resources are available for LWfG, it is very likely that the birds will winter mainly at Kerkini Lake and not at the Evros Delta, which will contribute to further minimisation of the theoretical risk of accidental shooting of LWfG at the latter wintering habitat. Thus, future conservation actions should primarily focus on the grassland improvement at Kerkini Lake enhancing the availability of food resources for LWfG (mainly grasses) and the protection of the feeding habitat from flooding.

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