Our priority activities concerning the conservation of the Red-breasted Goose are:
- Patrolling the wintering grounds of the Red-breasted Goose in North-eastern Bulgaria, where half of the global population of the species concentrates, especially in harsh winters; In the months November, December and January, when hunting of Greater White-fronted Geese is allowed, Redbreasts often are shot by mistake, or shooting distances from the roosts or feeding flocks are not observed, resulting in high levels of disturbance and dispersal of the flocks. Thus the birds spend the day moving around and covering greater distances in search of food, instead of feeding, and they lose the energy needed to survive the winter and undertake the long migration back to their breeding grounds 6000 km to the north.
During these three months we are trying to be present in the field as much as we can, especially on the hunting days, which are every Wednesday and every weekend. We send our volunteers to patrol, very often together with the official controlling bodies (environmental and forestry police). This winter alone we have prevented/ stopped over 100 poaching instances.
- Another important activity we do is the monitoring of the geese that helps conservation and research. We do this kind of monitoring twice a month in the period November – March, to establish species number, distribution and composition, age ratio, abdominal profiles, etc. This information is necessary to identify threats and guide future conservation actions and strategies.
- Community outreach activities, involving work with the local schools and organizing community events; A typical community outreach activity, which we organize together with the local municipality and Green Training Center – Shabla is the annual Kite Festival in September, dedicated to the conservation of birds and nature. It is a popular event that is growing and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the country.
- Acquiring of land to set aside for conservation: Over the last 20 or so years that our members have dedicated to the conservation of the Red-breasted Goose we realized that this is the most sustainable way to help the species. However, the region around the main roosts of the RBG, the lakes of Shabla and Durankulak, is located by the Black Sea coast and is very attractive for tourism development. On the other hand, it is one of the most fertile wheat growing agricultural regions in Bulgaria. These two factors have recently increased the price of the land, which is currently between 10 000 and 40 000 USD per hectare. About 150 ha have already been acquired by different NGOs, but some of the plots are far away from the lakes. Our goal is to acquire at least 200 ha more in order to ensure a real refuge for the birds in the vicinity of the lakes. Because of the high price of the land, we will hardly manage to do so on our own, so our idea is to develop a multi-partner project and apply to a big international donor, such as the EU transborder or LIFE Nature programmes. To accomplish such a project, however, we need to provide our own funds in the form of co-funding. Any donation we receive for land purchase is going now for setting such fund.
If you wish to contribute to any of our Red-breasted Goose Conservation activities, please contact us.