A ban on shooting the two breeds of white-fronted geese that visit Wales could come into effect on 1 September if the Welsh Government has its way.

Elected officials claim that it is hard to distinguish between the endangered Greenland white-fronted goose and the European species when in the field.

Under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act both species may be killed during the season.

Critics of the proposal say that an effective moratorium on shooting Greenland white-fronts is already in place and that the decline of this red-listed bird is due to weather changes, habitat loss and competition from Canada geese at their breeding grounds.

Environment minister John Griffiths has launched a consultation on the proposed ban, which is designed to meet the Government’s international conservation obligations.

In a statement, BASC said: For 40 years wildfowling clubs on the Dyfi estuary have been protecting the main over-wintering population of Greenland white-fronted geese in Wales with an effective voluntary moratorium on shooting. There is no evidence that shooting is a factor in population pressure in Wales, but the species is vulnerable to habitat loss and competition at its breeding grounds in Greenland. BASC takes seriously international treaty obligations to help protect the global population of the Greenland white-fronted goose and believes the voluntary no-shooting approach can be extended across Wales to protect the geese without the need for legislation There is no suggestion that the population of European white-fronted geese is threatened and it is rarely present anywhere in Wales. BASC, therefore, believes that a statutory ban on shooting this species is unnecessary.

The consultation on the subject closes on 19 April. To submit a response, visit bit.ly/Y8EaFM

Welsh Government launches consultation on goose shooting ban.