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Combining modern tracking data and historical records improves understanding of the summer habitats of the Eastern Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus
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  • Haitao Tian,
  • Diana Solovyeva,
  • Gleb Danilov,
  • Sergey Vartanyan,
  • Li Wen,
  • Jialin Lei,
  • Cai Lu,
  • Peter Bridgewater,
  • Guangchun Lei,
  • Zeng Qing
Haitao Tian
Beijing Forestry University
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Diana Solovyeva
Institute of Biological Problems of the North FEB RAS
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Gleb Danilov
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography RAS
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Sergey Vartanyan
North-East Interdisciplinary Science Research Institute FEB RAS
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Li Wen
NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment
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Jialin Lei
Beijing Forestry University
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Cai Lu
Beijing Forestry University
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Peter Bridgewater
University of Canberra
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Guangchun Lei
Beijing Forestry University
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Zeng Qing
Beijing Forestry University
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Abstract

The Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus), smallest of the “grey” geese, is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and protected in all range states. There are three sub-populations, with the least studied being the East Asian sub-population, shared between Russia and China. The extreme remoteness of breeding enclaves makes them largely inaccessible to researchers. As a substitute for visitation, remotely tracking birds from wintering grounds allows exploration of their summer range. Over a period of three years, and using highly accurate GPS tracking devices, eleven individuals of A. erythropus were tracked from the key wintering site of Dongting Lake, China, to breeding, molting, and staging sites in north-eastern Russia. Data obtained from that tracking, bolstered by ground survey and literature records, were used to model the summer distribution of A. erythropus. Although earlier literature suggests the summer range is patchy, the model confirms a contiguous summer range. The most suitable habitats are located along the coasts of the Laptev Sea, primarily the Lena-Delta, in the Yana-Kolyma Lowland, and smaller lowlands of Chukotka with narrow riparian extensions upstream along major rivers such as the Lena, Indigirka and Kolyma. The probability of A. erythropus presence is related to sites with altitude less than 500 m with abundant wetlands, especially riparian habitat, and a climate with precipitation of warmest quarter around 55 mm and mean temperature of wettest quarter around 14oC. Human disturbance also affects site suitability, with a gradual decrease in species presence starting around 160 km from human settlements. Remote tracking of animal species can bridge the knowledge gap required for robust estimation of species distribution patterns in remote areas. Better knowledge of species’ distribution is important in understanding the large-scale ecological consequences of rapid global change and establishing conservation management strategies.

Peer review status:Published

12 Nov 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
13 Nov 2020Submission Checks Completed
13 Nov 2020Assigned to Editor
16 Nov 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
03 Dec 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
11 Jan 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
14 Jan 20211st Revision Received
15 Jan 2021Submission Checks Completed
15 Jan 2021Assigned to Editor
15 Jan 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
21 Jan 2021Editorial Decision: Accept
May 2021Published in Ecology and Evolution volume 11 issue 9 on pages 4126-4139. 10.1002/ece3.7310