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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 February 2006, 00:18 GMT
Rare bean goose given protection
Bean goose. Picture courtesy of Birds of Britain
The birds belong to the last flock of bean geese in Scotland
Scotland's rarest goose is to be given new protection.

A 132,000 scheme has been launched to safeguard the country's last remaining flock of bean geese, which spend every winter between Falkirk and Cumbernauld.

A flock of more than 200 Taiga bean geese visit the Slammanan plateau from October to February every year.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has asked local farmers to help maintain land to provide a suitable habitat for the geese to feed, rest and roost.

The bird was common in Scotland in the 19th Century but this is just one of two flocks remaining in the UK.

The bean geese are an important part of our natural heritage
Peter Chapman
Scottish Natural Heritage

Peter Chapman, chairman of SNH's east area board, said: "We hope that local farmers will look closely at the scheme and will feel they want to take part.

"The bean geese are an important part of our natural heritage and we need to do what we can to help our Scottish flock."

The bean geese breed in the boreal forests of Sweden, northern Norway, Finland and western Russia.

Worldwide, there are approximately 100,000 taiga bean geese. The main population spends its winters in southern Scandinavia.

Anyone who manages land on the eligible sites can apply to join the scheme.

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