Help Protect Threatened Greenland White-fronted Geese

The Dyfi Estuary is the best place to see Greenland White-fronted Geese in Wales

The Dyfi Estuary is the best place to see Greenland White-fronted Geese in Wales

Five minutes could help protect our threatened Greenland White-fronted Geese

greenland-white-fronted-goose Creative commons imageGreenland White Fronted Goose Hilary Chambers CC BY-ND 2.0 under Creative-Commons license

Greenland White Fronted Goose - by Hilary Chambers

Welsh Government is currently consulting on a series of options for the future conservation of White-fronted Geese in Wales. We need your help to influence the outcome for the benefit of conservation.

Welsh Government say the purpose of this consultation is “to seek views on different options to impose a statutory ban on the shooting of White-fronted Goose in Wales throughout the year (including in the ‘open season’), as well as on an option to continue to support the current voluntary shooting ban.” This follows a similar consultation in 2013, when the majority of respondents did not support a statutory shooting ban, leading to a Ministerial decision to adopt the voluntary ban only.

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales will be responding to this consultation in support of a statutory ban, and we urge you to do the same. It could take as little as five minutes to help. The deadline is 07 March 2016. All documents are available in the How You Can Help section below.

How You Can Help

There are two types of White-fronted Geese: European (Anser albifrons albifrons), and Greenland (Anser albifrons flavirostris). European White-fronted Geese are functionally extinct in Wales (Welsh Ornithological Society), and the world population of Greenland White-fronted Geese has undergone significant declines.

JNCC reports “The world population [of Greenland White-fronted Geese] declined from a maximum of 23,000 birds in the late 1950s to c. 15,000 birds by the late 1970s, due primarily to wintering habitat destruction and agricultural intensification, especially in Ireland. Correspondingly, the British population declined by 35%, whilst all-Ireland numbers fell by around 50%”.

Conservation efforts have resulted in some more recent gains in Britain, but the population remains vulnerable, and White-fronted Geese have recently been added to the red list in the Birds of Conservation Concern 4 report.

In addition, Wales is the only area of the flyway used regularly by this species where they are not protected (Welsh Ornithological Society). Their numbers in Wales are very low, and the distribution is highly restricted, and they are not even a significant quarry species for wildfowlers.

The consultation seeks views on a number of options ranging from simply maintaining the current non-statutory, voluntary ban on the shooting of Greenland White-fronted Geese (option 5) through to a statutory ban on shooting of all White-fronted Geese (both species) throughout Wales throughout the year (option 1).

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales will be advocating option 1, a complete statutory ban on shooting. We recognise the value that the existing voluntary arrangements have provided, but given the small numbers of birds, the vulnerability of the population in Wales, and for the avoidance of doubt in species identification, we strongly believe a statutory ban on shooting all White-fronted Geese in Wales is the best option for contributing to population recovery.

We hope you will join us in supporting a statutory ban. You can find the original consultation documents and supporting information here.

There is the option of responding via the above webpage using an online form, or details are provided of postal and email addresses to which you can write.

We have provided a response proforma which you can use either to write or email by adding your personal details, or by using its contents to answer the questions on the online form.

Responding online should take no more than five minutes, and every response will count.

Please remember that if you do not wish your personal details to be published when the responses are summarised that you must state this clearly.

For more information, contact Dr Lizzie Wilberforce.

Thank you for your support.