WWT welcomes decisions this week by the UK and Welsh governments to end the hunting of Greenland white-fronted geese.
Annual counts show the population of Greenland white-fronted geese wintering in Britain and Ireland dropped by a third in the last decade, with only around 20,000 expected to visit this winter.
Wales and England were the only countries left on the goose’s migration route that still allowed them to be hunted. It’s already banned in Greenland, Iceland, Scotland and all of Ireland.
In Wales, wildfowlers helped to protect the small group of remaining birds who visit the Dyfi estuary through a voluntary moratorium on shooting them. But the Welsh Government has accepted the view of WWT and others that the birds were still at risk of being shot outside the moratorium area.
WWT’s Director of Conservation James Robinson said:
WWT welcomes the Welsh Environment Minister’s decision to introduce a statutory ban on the hunting of Greenland white-fronted geese in Wales. We asked for a statutory ban in our response to a consultation in 2016. Prior to this decision, there was a voluntary moratorium on the shooting of this goose in Wales and we want to thank the wildfowlers around the Dyfi Estuary for observing this approach.
However, the Standing Committee of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) agreed with us that the moratorium was not sufficient and we are pleased that this population of geese will now receive protection across Wales.
We look forward to working with government agencies, wildfowlers, researchers and conservation organisations across its range as we seek to see the recovery of this special population of geese.
In England, the Government has says it will publish a consultation on its proposal to remove Greenland white-fronted geese from the list of birds that can be shot during open season.