The Lesser White-fronted Goose goes global!
The Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus) is a migratory waterbird that breeds in the Scandinavian and Russian arctic and subarctic zones and flies through the Baltic countries, Hungary and Greece as well as Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, Uzbekistan and even China and Japan. It is a globally threatened species that is classified as Vulnerable (VU) by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as Endangered (EN) in Europe and as Critically Endangered (EN) in the EU.
Since the beginning of the 1990s the Hellenic Ornithological Society has had a crucial role in the international conservation efforts for the species and in particular of the Fennoscandian population of the Lesser White-fronted Goose that winters almost exclusively in the wetlands of northern Greece for approximately 6 months of the year. In fact, Greece seems to be the most important country for this tiny population as these geese spend more time here than in any other country along their migration route. The Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose population is now perhaps the most well monitored Waterbird population in Europe. Check their almost real-time observations in the portal for the species.
Conservation without borders for the most threatened waterbird of Europe
An international flyway approach is applied in the conservation efforts for the Lesser White-fronted Goose, in order to reflect the wide range of its population. Norway and Finland begun in mid-1980s to systematically monitor the species and uncovered the migration route of its Fennoscandian population. Since then a number of transnational projects have been implemented for its conservation and study, while the knowledge base for the species has improved greatly.
The most recent and ambitious project was the LIFE+ 2011-2017 project that included urgent conservation measures taken in important areas for the Lesser White-fronted Goose in Greece, Bulgaria and Hungary. Through the project field ornithologists were also trained in Lesser White-fronted Goose identification and monitoring and new sites for the species were uncovered. The project was co-financed by the European Commission, the Norwegian Environment Agency as well as the participating partners and was coordinated by the Hellenic Ornithological Society. Following 6 years of project implementation the Fennoscandian population finally showed a positive trend!
The NorGreck Project
A long standing collaboration exists between Norway and Greece, the countries at the beginning and the end of the journey of the Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Geese. The NorGreck project (2016-2018) is funded through BirdLife Norway by the Norwegian Environment Agency and implements conservation, advocacy, communication and education actions for the Lesser White-fronted Goose.
The report of the monitoring mission for the Lesser White‐fronted Goose at the Evros – Meriҫ Delta (Greece – Turkey), February 2018 is available here.
You can download the Report of the Monitoring of the Lesser White‐fronted Goose in Greece for the period 2017 ‐2018 from HERE.
The final report of the Phase II of the NorGreck Project (February 2019) is available here.
The Lesser White fronted Goose flies in schools!
In the framework of the NorGreck project, the Environmental Education Department of the Hellenic Ornithological Society has produced a series of educational materials for the Lesser White-fronted Goose in English, Norwegian, Russian and Farsi in order to promote the conservation of the species in Norway, Russia, Iran and also elsewhere.
The educational materials produced, were adapted from the respective editions in Greek that were designed by the Hellenic Ornithological Society within the framework of the European LIFE+ project, “Safeguarding the Lesser White-fronted Goose Fennoscandian population in key wintering and staging sites within the European flyway” (LIFE10 NAT/GR/638).
All materials, addressed mainly to children 4-12 years old, were created to raise awareness and promote action towards minimisation of biodiversity loss, by focusing on a globally threatened species, the Lesser White-fronted Goose. In Greece, more than 6,000 students and 250 teachers participated in the overall activities of the educational programme. All results were presented at the Arctic Biodiversity Congress, 2018.
We hope this educational material finds a positive response from the other countries visited by the Lesser White-fronted Goose, with small local networks, “acting locally, having thought globally”; working together to ensure not only safe places for wintering and breeding but also safe passages for migratory birds. The material refers to the Lesser White-fronted Goose in Greece but most of the activities can also related to other countries and even other waterbird species.
The Lesser White-fronted Goose "speaks" English
Supplementary material for the activities: Presentation “Visit from the past”
The Lesser White-fronted Goose "speaks" Norwegian
The Lesser White-fronted Goose "speaks" Russian
The Lesser White-fronted Goose "speaks" Farsi