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Monitoring of Lesser White-fronted Goose Wintering Sites and Awareness-Raising in Ukraine - 2011-2012

Lesser White-fronted Geese from the Western Palearctic population are thought to both winter and in smaller numbers migrate through Ukraine. The species has sporadically been registered in Ukraine with flock numbers reaching up to 1000 individuals. Although monitoring of wintering waterbirds in the Azov-Black Sea region has been conducted regularly since the beginning of the 1980s there are no consecutive records of LWfG sightings. This is partially due to the fact that monitoring missions focusing on LWfG have not been conducted. In addition many IBA’s where geese are known to occur have thus far been excluded from the yearly censes.
In order to increase knowledge on the occurrence of LWfG in Ukraine – i.e. migrating and wintering birds, key sites and threats – four monitoring missions between October 2011 and January 2012 were carried out in areas known/thought to be important for the species.

An effort was also made to involve local hunters in this process and to use their information on the occurrence and movements of geese whilst simultaneously raising awareness on the species. Project activities therefore also included the production of an information leaflet on the LWfG for hunters, which not only highlighted the difficulty of identifying LWfG but would also invited hunters to regularly take part in the monitoring of the species. A local workshop for hunters was also organized. Additionally, a special web-page dedicated to the LWfG was be created on www.biomon.org - a Ukrainian website on the monitoring of biodiversity - including options for users to introduce data on new findings, pictures and information from other sources.The project was carried out under the supervision of national LWfG expert Dr. Vasiliy Kostyushin, Head of fauna Monitoring and Conservation Department at the Institute of Zoology of the NAS of Ukraine.