Aktion Zwerggans e.V. Operation Lesser White-Front Operation Fjällgås
|Projects Activities 2004|
5th - 10th March 2004
Dr. Johan Mooij and Dr. Wolfgang Scholze of Aktion Zwerggans e.V. participated in the 8th annual meeting of the international goose specialist group of Wetlands International "Goose 2004" in Odessa.
26th- 28th March 2004
At the end of March, a meeting to plan the project was organised by Aktion Zwerggans e.V. near Gülper Lake in Brandenburg. This location was extremely suitable because it is well-known for its research on migratory birds, especially geese. Host of this meeting was the Ecological Station of the University of Potsdam.
3rd - 8th April 2004
Dr. Johan Mooij and Dr. Wolfgang Scholze of the organisation participated in the international conference "Waterbirds around the World" in Edinburgh. The conference was organised by Wetlands International. This participation was supported by the German Ministry of Environment BMU (Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit).
19th April 2004
An article in German magazine "Der Spiegel" reported about the threatening situation of migrating birds: "The waterbirds of our earth face huge threats. With microlight aircrafts, goose-sociology and the aid of satellites, biologists try to save this highly endangered species."
Read more in the article (German)
During the first training camp in Eutingen in spring 2004, pilots could improve their abilities in handling the Dragonflys. Starting and landing techniques and special flying manoeuvres that are necessary when flying with geese, as well as flying in emergency situations or flying in a flock were trained. During a two-day seminar in April 2004 in Herrenberg, Georg Spieth, training captain of Lufthansa for Airbus 300, shared his experiences in Crew Resource Management with the project participants. Aircraft professionals taught our teams special techniques in flight safety, which will be crucial for the success of the whole project.
Immediately after water flight training, our teams (pilots and ground team members) started on a journey from Germany to Lapland to gather informations about the possible flying routes, learning about the landscape as well as the special conditions along the routes. During this journey the teams gained extended experience in handling aircraft on floats under natural conditions.
To implement the project Operation Lesser Whitefront (Aktion Zwerggans) needs a permission of all countries concerned. In May 2004 the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) agreed on crossing Swedish territory with microlight planes and geese. This success was reached by an information campaign and much effort of all people involved.
According to the approval by EU of a LIFE-Starter-grant to prepare the project, Aktion Zwerggans is committed to work on and hand in a LIFE-Nature -application in co-operation with its Fennoscandian partners. In accordance with EU it was decided not to hand in this application in 2003, because the Fennoscandian authorities were not able to stick to the preparation schedule. In 2004 Aktion Zwerggans and its Finnish partners handed in a LIFE-Nature application. Unfortunately the Finnish Ministry of Environment felt unable to confirm the necessary letter of support. Therefore the application had to stay incomplete and was rejected in 2005 as expected.
To guarantee a sufficient number of Lesser White-fronted Geese with an unquestionable genetic composition for re-introduction is a priority condition for the implementation of the project in Finland and Sweden. At the moment only the breeding farm of our Finnish partner (Friends of the Lesser White-Fronted Goose) in Hämeenkoski / Finland has the potential to "produce" a substantial number of young birds each year. The long-lasting winter with its very low temperatures requires high effort in technical and personal sources. To cover the high demand for young Lesser Whitefronts in the scope of our planned project, breeding has to be intensified. In case the breeding farm in Hämeenkoski would suffer disease or other negative events, the implementation of the re-introduction projects will be seriously endangered.
In Germany and some neighbouring countries, Lesser White-Fronts are kept in zoos, animal parks or by private breeders. Aktion Zwerggans registered the breeding pairs from breeders prepared to support the project and will test the genetic composition of these birds to make sure that only birds with an unquestionable genetic composition are used for breeding and re-introduction. In most of the cases, Lesser White-fronted Geese are not kept separate from other goose species, which makes it quite difficult to exclude hybridisation. Up to now there have not been any recordings about these breeding Lesser Whitefronts.
To establish a genetically pure breeding stock and to reduce the risk of just having one breeding farm, Aktion Zwerggans plans to build another breeding farm exclusively for Lesser White-fronted Geese. Our partners Tierpark Cottbus (Zoological Garden) and "Friends of the Lesser White-fronted Goose" are supporting us in this mission. Germany is a very good location, as wintering conditions here are much better for geese. For this reason, Aktion Zwerggans is seeking any kind of support - be it suitable buildings, financial support or other.
Further information in German (PDF-file) [36 KB]
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