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Lesser White-fronted Goose in the Spotlight at CMS COP10 in Bergen, Norway

Bonn / Bergen 29 November 2011– The globally threatened Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus) was prominently featured at the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals which took place from 20-25 November 2011 in Bergen, Norway.

The Lesser White-fronted Goose is the migratory species in Norway that has undergone the most drastic decline, and saving this enigmatic bird is clearly close to the Norwegian heart. Norway plays a very active role in the international conservation efforts of the species both by continuously contributing substantial amounts of funding to various projects and by sharing its expertise and knowledge with other stakeholders.

Pledge for project to reduce the threat from illegal hunting on threatened waterbirds in Kostanay, Kazakhstan

During a donor's meeting at CMS COP10, the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment announced its decision to support four international conservation projects for migratory species under CMS and its Agreements, one of which is a project proposal put forward by the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat with the aim to reduce the threat from illegal hunting on threatened waterbirds in the Kostanay region of northern Kazakhstan.

The project aims to target and strengthen cooperation with key game husbandries in Kostanay, which is the major stop-over area for waterbirds migrating from their Russian breeding areas to wintering areas to the west and further south. The area is particularly critical for threatened species such as the Lesser White-fronted Goose and Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis). As the area is extremely large and key sites used by migrating birds fluctuate from year to year depending on water levels in different lakes, measures with regard to hunting need to be carried out throughout the entire region in order to ensure better protection of threatened waterbirds.

CMS COP10 Side-event on the Lesser White-fronted Goose

On Thursday the 24th of November 2011, the Lesser White-fronted Goose was the focus of a special side-event organized by the Norwegian Ornithological Society (NOF) and the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment. The side-event highlighted the drastic decline of the species - particularly of the small Fennoscandian sub-population which still breeds in northern Norway – and showcased the conservation measures being implemented under the Norwegian National Action Plan for the Lesser White-fronted Goose in an ongoing effort to ensure that the remaining staging and breeding areas in Norway are as safe as possible for the birds.

Following a short introductory video on the Lesser White-fronted Goose in Norway, both Dr. Ingar Jostein Øien from NOF and State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment, Ms. Heidi Sørensen emphasized that conservation efforts in Norway alone are not sufficient and called for continued international cooperation for the Lesser White-fronted Goose along its entire flyway, with a focus on defining and protecting key sites as well as tackling the main threat of illegal hunting.

CMS publication on ecological networks

Last but not least the Lesser White-fronted Goose was also featured as an example species in the publication produced by UNEP/GRID-Arendal for CMS COP10 focusing on the importance of ecological networks for the survival of migratory species.