Excursion to Lake Kerkini © Alexandra Demertzi/HOS
Bonn 13 December 2016 – Partner organizations to the EU LIFE+ project “Safeguarding the Lesser White-fronted Goose along its European Flyways” came together at Lake Kerkini in northern Greece from 6 to 9 December for the concluding meeting under the auspices of the project. Final pending activities will be carried out mainly in Greece during the winter season 2016-2017 with the project officially coming to an end in April 2017.
Having commenced in autumn 2011, the main focus of the EU LIFE+ project was to diminish the threat of illegal and accidental killing of Lesser White-fronted Geese (Anser erythropus) belonging to the Fennoscandian population at their staging and wintering areas in south-eastern Europe. To this end so-called smart-patrolling-systems were established at key sites in both Greece and Bulgaria during the time of year the geese are present, in collaboration with the local competent authorities. Other activities included strengthening the international monitoring network as well as habitat restoration and the production and dissemination of a wide range of educational materials at schools in Greece.
The project meeting focused on evaluating the implementation of project activities and discussing successes as well as lessons for the future. Participants also discussed the required after-LIFE plan, i.e. how the partners can continue running some of the reiterative activities – such as the monitoring and patrolling of key sites - after the project ends. The meeting concluded with a field excursion led by the Lake Kerkini Management Authority during which participants were able to catch a glimpse of the Fennoscandian flock in the far distance.
Apart from the concrete conservation actions implemented within the EU, the EU LIFE+ project has also been instrumental in furthering the work for the species under the AEWA Lesser White-fronted Goose International Working Group and has directly contributed to the implementation of the AEWA International Single Species Action Plan. The development of general identification and monitoring guidelines which were subsequently adopted by the International Working Group as well as the training of experts throughout the migration routes of the species are but a few examples.
During the lifespan of the project, the Fennoscandian population has experienced a slow yet steady increase, which can be directly attributed to the conservation measures carried out within the framework of the project as well as elsewhere along the flyway, particularly at the staging and breeding sites in Norway.
The project was awarded the European Natura 2000 Award by the European Commission in 2016 in the category cross-border cooperation and networking.
The Lesser White-fronted Goose is globally threatened and recognized as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List and as ‘Critically Endangered’ within the EU. Main threats to the species include illegal killing and habitat loss. Conservation efforts are further hampered by gaps in key knowledge, such as the unknown location of key sites.
Last updated on 13 December 2016