Monday, 11 March 2013

Good news for White-fronted Geese

Most of our life we quite rightly hammer politicians for all the things they do not do to stop the terrible decline of our wildlife and destruction of wild places.  Sometimes it is good to praise them when they get something right. the Welsh assembly have been consulting on their decision to consider a ban on shooting White-fronted Geese in Wales.  Obviously the conservation organisations are very supportive of this idea and only this last weekend the Welsh Ornithological Society of which I am Chair endorsed our support as well.

European White-fronted Goose
Once flocks of over 2,000 European White-fronted Geese (Anser anser albifrons) annually wintered in the Tywi Valley but nowadays only the occasional individual turns up.  It is generally thought that these birds stay in places like the Netherlands now that winters are generally milder and do not bother to do the extra journey.  I hope this is correct because if not we have certainly lost this population.  This race of this species is still very numerous and widespread elsewhere in winter.

Greenland White-fronted Geese
The reason this news is so happily received in Wales is that small groups of the Greenland White-fronted Goose (Anser anser flavirostris) still winter in Wales mainly in the Dyfi Valley.  This race is much scarcer breeding in not only Greenland but also Iceland where shooting has already been banned. The Welsh Assembly should be congratulated on raising this issue and assuming they will go ahead it signals better days for this species and a contribution to increasing their numbers in Wales.

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