More safety for the migratory geese in Kazakhstan

The BSPB’s Kazakhstan partner in the “LIFE for Safe Flight” project – Aydam 2012 Ltd., who manage the hunting estate around Kulikol lake, approved a revision of the zonation plan of the estate. The plan expands significantly the non-hunting area in order to ensure more safety for the globally threatened goose species, that stop there to refuel energy reserves in the course of their migration. The new non-hunting zone covers almost 35% of the territory of the estate and will reduce significantly the disturbance caused by hunting. The selection of the territory has been done by ACBK experts, based on the telemetry data, which shows the main area used by the Red-breasted Geese for foraging. The expanding of the non-hunting area is a success for the project, as it is included in one of the objectives of the Life project Actions.

The Taldikol-Kulikol lake system is a migration stop-over-site for almost the majority of the of the Red-breasted geese and significant part of the lesser white-fronted geese. During the annual migration in October from 150 to 300 000 individuals are registered there, and almost all of the GPS tagged red-breasted geese have stopped at the site.

The management of Aydam 2012 Ltd. has already made the restrictions effective for this hunting season and printed notification leaflets for the hunters, which are given to them at the time they pay their hunting permit at the estate. The hunting restrictions and regulations are given in the notice and the hunters sign it to certify they have been informed. This is the first expansion of non-hunting zone in any of the hunting estates in Kazakhstan, based on conservation objectives. In most of the hunting estates 500 to 1000 m around the lakes shooting is strictly prohibited, which ensures use of the lakes as secure roosting area and for drinking water during the day.

During the recent expedition in Kazakhstan in October 2021 BSPB and ACBK experts visited the hunting estate. They haven’t found any violations of the regimes in the area. A checkup of the shot geese was made in one of the hunting days, which resulted in finding only greater white-fronted geese were shot by the hunters.

The zonation changes will also contribute to the improvement of the hunting as the increased non-hunting zone will attract more geese and make them feel safer, so it will also benefit the hunters. We hope that other hunting farms will follow the example given by Aydam 2012 Ltd. The management of the hunting estate at Lake Koybagor has already made steps towards limiting the disturbance by limiting the access of boats on the territory of the lake. The results are already visible – a significant number of geese has been registered there to roost during night.

However, the problems with hunting violations and killing of globally threatened goose species continue at other estates and this requires more work in the future along with control authorities.