Sir Peter Scott Fund project: Red-breasted Goose, Romania
- To develop a realistic approach to conserving the Red-breasted Goose and its feeding territories
- To increase local awareness, especially amongst farmers
- To apply for funding to carry out activities which support Red-breasted Goose conservation
- To develop a targeted agri-environment scheme
This highly charismatic species was moved from Vulnerable to Endangered status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ in 2007.
The Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis) has a very small wintering range of 20,000 km² for the remaining population of 37,000 birds. Large flocks of the geese and other threatened birds, feed on farmland over the winter, bringing them into conflict with land-owners. Farmers receive no compensation for the damage to their crops and so have developed ways of scaring off the geese to protect their livelihoods.
These methods are often highly damaging to the geese and the environment, such as the use of pesticides and poisons to harm the feeding birds.
This project is located in Romania, which holds 20%of the european population of Red-breasted Geese, including their main winter feeding ground in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.
Given their dependence on farming habitat, agricultural policy plays a crucial part in the conservation of Red-breasted Geese. Engaging with and supporting farming communities is a key focus of this project, to encourage the adoption of methods more sympathetic to the environment and the survival of the red-breasted goose.
Financial support has been sought from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), to establish agri-environmental schemes targeted at bird conservation.
(July 2008) Recent discussions with staff from the Ministry of Agriculture in Romania indicate that this approach is working and the agri-environment schemes have been taken up by many farmers in Romania. This is an encouraging sign for the long-term success of the project. Actual figures shall be released in the coming month.
A management plan has also been submitted to the Ministry of Environment for the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve to provide a secure future for Red-breasted Geese at the heart of their existing range.
(September 2009) The project has now successfully been completed. The following project objectives were achieved:
• Increasing awareness of the local community to apply environmentally friendly activities and practices that support the conservation of the Red-breasted Goose and other threatened species.
• Developing a targeted Red-breasted Goose agri-environment scheme.
• Securing funds under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
• Development of a standardized strategy for geese monitoring.
The objective of developing a realistic approach for Red-breasted Goose conservation in the local area was only partially completed due to the delayed development of the overall Romanian strategy for Local Action Groups.