- West coast’s winter geese hit an all-time record
The number of pink-footed geese has risen so much in recent years that the threshold has now been reached in several ways. The pink-footed goose breeds on Svalbard, Iceland and Greenland. There is the population on Svalbard, which winters in Denmark, Holland and Belgium. The stock has quadrupled in 40 years and is now in excess of 80,000 birds. There are now so many pink-footed geese that their foraging threatens the sensitive tundra plants in the breeding grounds in Svalbard. In late September, large flocks of geese come to the west coast. At Vest Stadil Fjord and the lake Fiil Sø, you can see up to 20,000 pink-footed geese in the same place. You can also see large flocks of pink-footed geese along the North Sea coastline. When the geese forage for food on farmland with winter crops, the large flocks of geese can lead to losses for the farmers.
The geese get their own plan
A collaboration between Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium has resulted in the establishment of a joint management plan for the pink-footed goose. According to the plan, the population will be reduced to about 60,000 birds. The goal will be achieved through more efficient hunting. The effect of the management plan actions will be followed closely by monitoring the goose population to ensure that the stock does not fall below the 60,000 birds. The number of geese was counted on 5 May 2013 at a joint goose counting day where observers in Norway and Denmark were sent out to the resting places and fields where the geese normally forage.
The pink-footed goose is quite small, with brownish neck and head, dark belly and black beak with a pink band. It is 60-75 cm long and has a wingspan of 135-170 cm. It feeds on grasses and herbs as well as wasted corn and winter crops. There are two separate populations which are both rapidly rising. The western population, which breeds in Iceland and Greenland, has a population size of over 250,000 birds.