Aleutian Cackling Geese

Aleutian Cackling Goose flying by USFWS

Saved from Extinction: A Refuge Success Story


With a spectacular comeback from about 300 birds to more than 120,000, the Aleutian cackling goose was saved from extinction. It took over 30 years of work by the Refuge, other Fish and Wildlife Service staff, and cooperators along its west coast migration route from Canada to California to save this bird and bring it off the Endangered Species List.

Bringing back the Aleutian cackling goose is the first success of the refuges invasive species program. Keys to the successful restoration of the Aleutian goose were (1) removal of invasive species (introduced foxes) from the goose’s former nesting islands (2) moving goslings to those fox-free islands to reestablish them as nesting locations and (3) protecting them on their wintering grounds in California and Oregon.

Monitoring on those now-fox-free Aleutian islands is showing additional benefits to other wildlife. From 10 to 15 kinds of seabirds are increasing without harassment and predation by the alien foxes. Populations should continue to increase for several decades.

Several endemic animals (breeding only in a local area) seem to be out of danger. Until removal of the foxes, these animals had been candidates for the Endangered Species List.