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Lesser White-fronted Goose

International action plan

A new plan will help stimulate international conservation to save the fastest declining species covered by the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA). The ‘International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus [Vulnerable]’ provides a framework for coordinated international action across its extraordinary migratory route which spans Europe and parts of Asia.

Adopted at the Fourth Meeting of the Parties to AEWA in Antananarivo, Madagascar, the plan sets the stage for strengthened cooperative conservation action between Eurasian countries in which this species regularly occurs.

“We now have a solid basis of consolidated information and a practical roadmap which will help countries to work together for the protection of this threatened species”, said Bert Lenten, the Executive Secretary of AEWA.The Western Palearctic population of Lesser White-fronted Goose is decreasing faster than those of almost any other species in the area covered by AEWA, with a decline rate of 30-49% over the last 10 years. Hunting on the staging and winter grounds is a primary threat, along with habitat loss and climate change.

The largest part of the bird’s population nests in Russia, migrates across Central Asian states such as Kazakhstan and winters in countries like Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iraq and Iran. Because the Lesser White-fronted Goose’s migration route regularly takes it across 22 countries, it has become a flagship species for international cooperation.

“A complicated migration route takes the bird through a number of countries where there are no effective hunting regulations”, said Dr Vicky Jones – BirdLife’s Global Flyways Officer. “Lesser White-fronted Goose epitomises the importance of international action to save our threatened migratory birds”.“One of the things this action plan can do is to promote international cooperation and capacity building in order to assist the countries in this region to strengthen their actions for the species and thereby for wetlands conservation more broadly”, commented Tim Jones, an Action Plan compiler.

An international agreement of this kind is often a requirement before national conservation actions can be justified. “If we get the habitats and sites for this species protected through the implementation of this action plan – it will be benefiting not only the Lesser White-fronted Goose but also many other waterbird species as well”, noted Lenten.

NB AEWA is a United Nations Environment Programme backed treaty dedicated to the protection of 255 species of waterbirds which migrate along the African-Eurasian Flyways. Developed under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species, AEWA provides the framework for countries in the region to work together to conserve migratory waterbirds.

4th July 2014