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Monday, 26 August, 2002, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Satellite tracker finds goose in freezer
goose's flight
A goose fitted with a 3,000 electronic transmitter to chart its migration has been tracked 4,500 miles (7,245 kilometres) by satellite - to an Inuit hunter's freezer.

Kerry was one of six Irish light-bellied brent geese being followed on their migration routes by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire.

Having almost completed the arduous journey, Kerry was tracked to an Inuk's home on remote Cornwallis Island.

And after knocking on the door, researchers were led to his freezer where Kerry lay after being shot - still wearing his bleeping transmitter.

The hunter was somewhat surprised

Dr James Robinson, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

Every April the geese fly from Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, via Iceland to Canada's Arctic wilderness.

There, they mate, lay eggs and rear goslings before returning with them in August and September.

"It is one of the most amazing migrations made by any bird," said Dr James Robinson, senior researcher at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

Bird of prey

But en route they face bad weather, 3,000-metre (9,840-feet) ice mountains in Greenland - and predators.

"The hunter was somewhat surprised," Dr Robinson said. "He did not know what the device on the goose's back was.

brent goose
Brent geese make a perilous migration journey
"He was a bit reluctant to co-operate to start with, but when the project was explained to him, he was happy to help."

Another of the six geese is also thought to have been shot.

Arnthor's bleeps stopped suddenly above Disko Island on the west coast of Greenland

A third, Oscar, was found dead on a small Icelandic island.

Researchers think a bird of prey killed him.

The other birds remain off Canada's Arctic coast.

Austin is on the western tip of Ellesmere Island, Hugh was last tracked to Amund Ringnes Island, and Major Ruttledge is thought to be on Graham Island.

Each goose can be adopted for a 75 contribution to the research programme.

Adopters receive e-mails and mobile phone text messages with their goose's location.

Dr Robinson said Kerry's 15 adopters had been asked to switch allegiance to one of his more fortunate feathered friends.

See also:

10 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
04 Nov 01 | Science/Nature
03 Apr 00 | Science/Nature
11 Mar 99 | South Asia
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