We got sad news from our colleague and friend Alexey Timoshenko from Kazakhstan Association for Conservation of Biodiversity. He reported that one of the Redbreasts caught last February near Shabla SPA in Bulgaria was found shot in Kazakhstan near Koibagor lake IBA. The lake is a key stop over site for the Red-breasted Goose in Kazakhstan during its migration towards the wintering sites in Bulgaria and Romania. Koibagor was designated as Important Birds Area by BirdLife International amongst others due to its importance for the species migration.

The bird with metal ring № 5-58879, was an adult female when it was caught during the cannon netting in February 2013 in Bulgaria. The goose was caught as part of the field activities under the EU Life+ Project “Safe Ground for the Redbreasts”. The goose was one of 93 birds caught near Shabla SPA in Bulgaria all of which were metal ringed and some got colour rings as well. The bird was ringed and handled by British expert of Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust who are partners on the project and coordinate the catching efforts. The female has survived its travel to the breeding grounds and then fallen victim of illegal shooting in Northern Kazakhstan.

Last year on its spring migration another Redbreast tagged by Le Balkan foundation in Bulgaria was shot in Northern Kazakhstan on the Russian-Kazakhstan border. This is a second documented bird frоm individually marked Redbreasts and highlights the problem that exists with illegal killing of birds along with legal quarry species.

Continuous efforts are being made to reduce illegal killing of Redbreasts. The Russian Academy of Sciences expert Sonia Rozenfeld has contributed successfully for closing spring hunting in Kalmykia during the migration, but obviously more efforts are needed to ensure that rare and endangered species are safe during their migration through countries like Kazakhstan. Often rare and endangered species face great threat when flying along with legal quarry species. They are exposed to shooting and killing by hunters, but also harassed during foraging time when hunters follow them in the field. Shooting by hunters is common problem along the flyway of the species and this would be one of the hot topics on the coming first meeting of the AEWA Red-breasted Goose International Working Group in next February.