Speaker Name(s): Robert L. Jefferies, PhD
Description: Many arctic goose populations that winter in farmland in Europe and North America have shown, in recent decades, a geometric increase in numbers, primarily the result of an agricultural food subsidy and the presence of nearby reserves where the birds are protected. Hunting is either restricted or has little effect on population sizes. Increased numbers of birds return to the Arctic in early spring where they forage on wetland vegetation, which has been damaged or lost in coastal areas of Hudson Bay and elsewhere as a result of this feeding. In sharp contrast to geese, some populations of shore birds that breed in polar regions are declining, possibly because of loss of habitat and food supplies along migration routes and on wintering grounds. This difference in response to changes in land use indicates the complexity involved in attempting to conserve wildlife populations.