Welsh Government refuses to ban shooting of White-fronted Geese
Greenland White-fronted Geese are endangered and under serious threat of extinction – the global population is now below 20,000 birds and the wintering population in Wales is at critically low levels. In the late 1990s, over 160 birds returned to their regular wintering site on the Dyfi estuary. That figure was down to only 24 last year with a small number of sightings at one or two other places in north Wales. But, astonishingly, the Welsh Government has announced that it will not implement a total ban on shooting White-fronted Geese across Wales.
According to RSPB Cymru Director, Katie-jo Luxton, “When a species is declining so quickly that it is under threat of extinction, you’d think the least that those in power could do is to offer it legal protection to prevent it from being shot.”
“It is not clear how the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs came to this decision, but what we do know is that she has gone against the advice of Natural Resources Wales, Welsh Government’s own statutory nature conservation and environmental regulator, as well as the opinions of a number of Wales’ conservation organisations and a large numbers of individuals.”
In February 2016, the Welsh Government launched a public consultation to gather feedback on various options on promoting the conservation of both races of White-fronted Geese in Wales: the endangered Greenland white-fronted goose and the globally more common, but still threatened in the UK, European white-fronted goose. These options ranged from a complete ban on shooting White-fronted Geese, to maintaining the current voluntary ban on shooting the Greenland race on land over which wildfowling clubs have specific rights to shoot.