Studies showed that Lesser White-fronted Geese often migrate and winter associated with Greater White-fronted Geese (Anser albifrons). Because of the great similarity between both species, smaller groups of Lesser Whitefronts are easily overlooked, which means that the actual Lesser Whitefront numbers might be slightly higher as recorded during midwinter counts. But in spite of this problem, there is no doubt, that the Lesser Whitefront population has drastically decreased during the past decades.
The great similarity between the Greater and Lesser White-fronted Goose not only influences the population estimates but also the mortality rate of the Lesser Whitefronts. In areas where both species pass through and Greater Whitefronts are huntable, the proportion of non-huntable Lesser Whitefronts in the bags is comparable to their proportion in the flocks, i.e. that in such areas the rare and protected Lesser White-fronted Goose suffers a comparable high hunting pressure as the huntable and more common Greater Whitefront. This (illegeal) hunting seems to be the main reason for the recorded population decrease of the Lesser White-fronted Goose.
To save the Lesser White-fronted Goose from extinction it is necessary to protect all haunts of the species and to ban hunting from these sites.
In Bulgaria the Lesser White-fronted Goose is a protected species according to the Nature Conservation Law. Their main haunts are the Lakes Shabla and Dorankoulak, situated in the most northeastern part of the country, along the Black Sea coast. But in spite of the protection by law each year the Lesser White-fronted Goose is subject to recreational hunting actions as well as intensive poaching, activities that more often end up in a real massacre. Each year between the 1st of November and the 31st of January such actions can be observed during the stay of the birds on their roost (the lakes) or on their feeding sites (cereal fields around the lakes). To guarantee the long-term survival of the species it is necessary to start up concrete and effective actions to protect the natural sites regularly used by the geese. The Foundation Le Balkan-Bulgaria made it its business to develop and implement such actions.
The protection of the lakes and surrounding fields not only would protect the Lesser White-fronted Goose, but also would help to protect other rare and endangered species, which use the same sites: Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis), Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus), Great Bustard (Otis tarda), Marbled Polecat (Vormela peregusna), Romanian Hamster (Mesocricetus newtoni) etc.
You can help Le Balkan. With your support you can help Le Balkan to buy land around the lakes as well as to manage the reserves, to help the further development of the information and management centres, founded in the reserves, as well as to support research and arise public awareness.
Such a project is very expensive and it is necessary to keep contact with a high number of collaborators. That is the reason that Le Balkan started an international campaign to gain supporters, hoping to focus your attention on its activities and, thanks to your help, to proceed its efforts.