Over 8,000 lesser white-fronted geese wintering in northwest Iran

January 18, 2019 - 23:18

TEHRAN – about 8,000 endangered population of lesser white-fronted geese were are wintering in West Azarbaijan province, northwestern part of the country, head of wildlife monitoring affairs at the provincial department of environment has said.

“The global population of the winter migrant species is estimated at about 20,000 individuals, 8,000 of which are currently wintering in the country,” IRNA quoted Omid Yousefi as saying on Wednesday.

The critically endangered species is now only found in one main population in East Asia, with a few birds remaining in the historic Western population, he said, adding that the Eastern population migrate from Siberia to China or Malaysia in winters, while the Western population, wing their ways to winter in Iran.

He went on to say that with regard to the fact that the lesser white-fronted goose is the only small bird at risk of extinction, programs have been drawn up to strengthen their population, so they are protected whenever migrating.

The Lesser White-fronted Goose Life project called “Safeguarding the Lesser White-fronted Goose Fennoscandian population in key wintering and staging sites within the European flyway” was an international European Union LIFE+ Nature project, which aimed to halt its current alarming population decline by implementing concrete conservation actions. The project was underway from September, 2011- April, 2017.

Currently, annual migratory birds’ census plan is being implemented in 70 habitats of the birds in the province, he stated, adding that some 60 experts and environmentalists are conducting the census.

Annual census for migratory birds in Iran begins in the middle of the Iranian calendar month of Dey (December 22-January 20), and ends in middle of the month of Bahman (January 21-February 19), through which Iran hosts rare species of migratory birds heading from north to the southern countries due to reduced seasonal temperatures and food availability.

During the aforesaid period, it is anticipated that over 80,000 birds and aquatic animals to be counted in the province, he added.

In December 2018, Majid Kharrazian-Moqaddam, head of aquatic animals and wildlife affairs at the Department of Environment said that the total population of migratory birds took flight to spend the cold season in the country increased by 26.5 percent last winter compared to a year earlier, with increased rainfall averages and accordingly wetlands being filled with water.