Lesser white-fronted goose
The Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus) is the smallest species of goose in Europe. It weighs between 1700 and 2200 grams and has a wingspan of 135 cm (4.5 ft.). It is very hard to distinguish from the White-fronted Goose by the yellow ring around its eye and its smaller size.
In the past the species nested across Europe and Asia but at present its distribution area has decreased dramatically. Nowadays the Lesser White-fronted Goose is a globally threatened species with vulnerable status according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In Bulgaria the species can be seen in winter and during migration. It is found chiefly in the Bulgarian North-East, mainly around the Durankulak and Shabla lakes. There have been isolated observations near Burgas, Batova Protected Area, Yazovir Pyasachnik PA, as well as inland.
The wintering population in Bulgaria is estimated to be about 15 – 50 individuals. The tendency of the population is unstable and fluctuating. The major threat for the species is poaching and incidental killing by hunters due to its great likeness to the White-fronted Goose which is game. Threats:
- Extreme weather
- Illegal methods of hunting
- Disturbance by humans
- Habitat change
Conservation measures in action:
- Guarding of protected areas in Bulgaria where the species winters
- Development of an action plan for the species in Bulgaria
- Supplementary feeding of geese in bad weather conditions
- Inquiries and surveys among hunters