The MOU between the Argentine Republic and the Republic of Chile on the Conservation of the Ruddy-headed Goose (Chloephaga rubidiceps) was concluded under the auspices of CMS and became effective on 21 November 2006. It aims to safeguard the mainland population of this species, which is in serious danger of extinction with an estimated size of around 900-1,000 individuals. Due to its critical status, this population is listed in the Convention’s Appendices I and II. Currently its effective conservation depends on concerted actions between the two signatory states.
The Ruddy-headed goose lives in the south of Chile and Argentina and the Falkland Islands/Malvinas. It tends to congregate with other goose species which farmers consider to be pests and so the Ruddy-headed goose has been persecuted in the past, especially in the wintering grounds in the south of Buenos Aires province.
The two Range States have agreed to develop an Action Plan (AP) in consultation with the Scientific Council of the parent Convention in respect of the migratory, continental population of the species. The MOU serves as a means of facilitating the exchange of scientific, technical and legal information and will foster co-operation between the experts and international organizations working to implement the AP.
The introduction of a federal law in Argentina that proclaimed the Ruddy-headed goose as a pest back in the 1960s, promoted the active destruction of the species and persecution at its wintering grounds, and contributed to the decline of its population. Although this proclamation was overruled in 1985, the introduction of Patagonian Grey Fox as a control for the European Rabbit on Tierra del Fuego has contributed to the species’ decline in recent years. In addition to this, factors such as trophy-hunting, excessive use of agro-chemicals in Buenos Aires province and habitat modification in both Chile and Argentina are some of the current threats that the Ruddy-headed Goose is facing.
In November 2010, a workshop on the conservation of the declining Ruddy-headed Goose took place in Punta Arenas, Chile. The workshop reviewed the implementation of the MOU in the two countries and revised the bilateral Action Plan, which had been drawn up in 2009 for this species. It was confirmed that the population of the Ruddy-headed Goose to which the MOU applies is that occurring on the South American continental mainland. With an improved definition of the breeding area, and additional provisions on partnerships, financing and special measures in the wintering areas, a revised text of the Action Plan was agreed at the workshop.
Several activities have been undertaken in Chile including hunting controls and other protection measures in breeding areas. In Argentina, activities take place in the framework of a national strategy for the conservation and management of the Ruddy-headed Goose, Ashy-headed Goose and the Upland Goose.
Activities agreed by the two countries also include the surveying and monitoring of the Ruddy-headed Goose population on the mainland and Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and Chile, which aim to assess changes in distribution and population trends in both main breeding and wintering areas. In addition, education, awareness-raising and capacity building activities in cooperation with local stakeholders have been taking place to provide information to local communities, hunters and farmers, in which particular attention is given to reducing the persecution and hunting pressure during the wintering season in southern Buenos Aires province.