LIFE Project Cover Photo

Conservation of the Red-breasted Goose along the Global Flyway

Reference: LIFE16 NAT/BG/000847 | Acronym: LIFE FOR SAFE FLIGHT



The red-breasted goose (Branta ruficollis) is one of the most threatened goose species in the world. It is listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive and is on the Ornis Committee list of birds that are a priority for LIFE Nature funding. The species is also listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, is in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and Appendix I and II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). Wetlands are the primary habitat for this goose species, but are also identified among the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change. Extreme flooding and drought are the drivers that can change the quality and extent of the habitat, and therefore can cause severe negative changes to populations of threatened and vulnerable species.


The objective of LIFE FOR SAFE FLIGHT is to make a major contribution to the conservation of the red-breasted goose within the EU, and also within its global migration flyway.

Specific project aims are to:

  • Improve knowledge on the importance of specific threats to the migration ecology and current distribution of the red-breasted goose;
  • Implement a set of conservation measures to reduce direct and indirect mortality from hunting and disturbance in Bulgaria project sites and along the global flyway;
  • Engage stakeholders to develop management practices for red-breasted goose conservation at key sites to enhance conditions for the species;
  • Ensure engagement of communities and stakeholders to enhance community pride in and support for the conservation of red-breasted goose, and the Natura 2000 network generally; and
  • Assess the effects of the implementation of the international species action plan on the species’ status, by developing a comprehensive monitoring system in all range countries along the flyway.
  • The implemented actions on the project will serve as mitigation measures to partly compensate the threats and problems arising from increased incidents of drought in Central Asia and other parts of the migratory flyway of the species. The project is a major contribution to the implementation of the AEWA/EC international species action plan (SAP) for the red-breasted goose.

    Expected results:

  • Increased knowledge on key areas and threats for the species;
  • Red-breasted geese (30 individuals) tracked by satellite tags to provide survival data and reveal the importance of the major threats to guide future conservation measures;
  • Data on hunting pressure and poaching activities systematically collected following common methodology;
  • Improved knowledge of the distribution of the species and the key concentration areas to help plan conservation actions directed to maintaining the population at a favourable level;
  • Population data for the species on a global level collected over three winter seasons to allow BirdLife International and IUCN to reassess the conservation and threat status of the species;
  • National action plans for the red-breasted goose in Romania and Kazakhstan developed;
  • Creation of a 200 ha buffer zone of managed grassland as geese feeding habitat at a key bottleneck site for the species (Manych Gudilo Lake) to reduce mortality during the spring migration in Russia;
  • Reduced red-breasted goose mortality during the spring hunting season in Russia by closing/regulating hunting in three regions of the Russian Federation and introducing temporary reserve areas and rest zones at key staging sites during peak migration;
  • Less disturbance of staging flocks of red-breasted goose in Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine by introducing new patrol schemes;
  • Reduced disturbance and killing of the species during migration in Kazkahstan through the introduction of new zonation in key staging sites and new management techniques, creating conditions to attract migrating geese for staging on over 90 000 ha;
  • Reduced collision with powerlines in Bulgaria through installation of bird diverters along four km power-lines in key areas for the red-breasted goose in Bulgaria; and
  • At least 30 experts and managers trained on innovative approaches for sustainable harvesting of water birds and mitigation of hunting pressure through a set of three workshops in Bulgaria, Romania and Kazakhstan.


    Reference: LIFE16 NAT/BG/000847
    Start Date: 01/09/2017
    End Date: 31/05/2023
    Total Eligible Budget: 2,598,468 €
    EU Contribution: 1,918,320 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds
    Legal Status: PNC
    Address: Yavorov Complex; Block 71; Entrance 4, app. 1, 1111, Sofia,,
    Contact Person: Stoycho STOYCHEV
    Email: Send Email
    Website: Visit Website

    LIFE Project Map



    • Birds


    • grassland ecosystem
    • hunting
    • migratory species


    • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
    • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020” (03.05.2011)
    • Directive 2009/147 - Conservation of wild birds - Birds Directive (codified version of Directive 79/409/EEC as amended) (30.11.2009)
    • Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals - CMS (01/11/1983)


    • 0 - Non applicable (i.e.species project)


    • Branta ruficollis


    Type Code Name
    SCI BG0000154 Ezero Durankulak
    SPA BG0000270 Atanasovsko ezero
    SPA BG0000271 Mandra - Poda
    SPA BG0000273 Burgasko ezero
    SCI BG0000396 Persina
    SPA BG0000156 Shablenski ezeren kompleks
    SPA BG0002017 Kompleks Belenski ostrovi
    SPA BG0002050 Durankulashko ezero
    SPA BG0002083 Svishtovsko-Belenska nizina
    SPA ROSPA0059 Lacul Strachina
    SCI ROSCI0005 Balta Albă - Amara - Jirlău - Lacul Sărat Câineni
    SPA ROSPA0004 Balta Albă - Amara - Jirlău
    SPA ROSPA0005 Balta Mică a Brăilei
    SPA ROSPA0031 Delta Dunării și Complexul Razim - Sinoie
    SPA ROSPA0051 Iezerul Călărași
    SCI ROSCI0389 Sărăturile de la Gura Ialomiței - Mihai Bravu
    SPA ROSPA0111 Berteștii de Sus - Gura Ialomiței


    Name Type
    Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds Coordinator
    SOR(Romanian Ornithological Society/BirdLife Romania), Romania Participant
    ROMSILVA National Forestry Agency – Small Wetland of Brăila Natural Park, Romania Participant
    MMAP(Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests of Romania), Romania Participant
    AGVPS(General Association of Roumanian Hunters & Anglers), Romania Participant
    YHC(“ABS Zharkol” Ltd), Kazakhstan Participant
    ACBK(Association for the Conservation Biodiversity of Kazakhstan/BirdLife Kazakhstan), Kazakhstan Participant
    NR RU(State Reserve “Chernjie Zemli” Management Authority), Russia Participant
    RGG(Geese and Swans Study Group of North Eurasia), Russia Participant
    REO UA(Regional Ecological Organisation “Renaissance”), Ukraine Participant
    NNP UA(National natural Park "Tuzlovsky Limani"), Ukraine Participant
    Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests of Romania, Romania Participant
    General Association of Romanian Hunters & Anglers, Romania Participant
    “ABS Zharkol” Ltd, Kazakhstan Participant
    Association for the Conservation Biodiversity of Kazakhstan/BirdLife Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan Participant
    State Reserve “Chernjie Zemli” Management Authority, Russia Participant
    Geese and Swans Study Group of North Eurasia, Russia Participant
    Regional Ecological Organisation “Renaissance”, Ukraine Participant
    National natural Park "Tuzlovsky Limani", Ukraine Participant
    Romanian Ornithological Society/BirdLife Romania, Romania Participant
    BMB(ROMSILVA National Forestry Agency – Small Wetland of Brăila Natural Park), Romania Participant