Management of a Dutch resident barnacle goose Branta leucopsis population: How can results from counts, ringing and hunting bag statistics be reconciled?

H.P. van der Jeugd (Corresponding author), A. Kwak

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The resident Dutch Northern Delta barnacle geese Branta leucopsis population expanded steadily since birds first bred in 1982, increasing agricultural conflict. Derogation shooting has been used since 2005 to scare geese from sensitive crops and to reduce population size. Numbers almost doubled to ca. 28 000 individuals during 2007–2014, despite annual removal of 15–25% of geese and adult and juvenile survival rates of 79 and 67% (cf. natural survival of 96% for both age classes). Simple population modelling, using estimated annual survival values and fixed fecundity, predicted a moderate increase to 21 500 individuals in 2014. It is unclear whether current harvest levels are sufficient to halt population growth. Shooting may be less effective because of the disproportionate take of immature post-breeding and of individuals from other populations in winter. Discrepancies between counted and modelled abundance call for caution and improved effect monitoring of derogation shooting before harvest levels are increased further.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-261
Issue numberSupplement 2
Publication statusPublished - 2017



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