U.S. bird cull means Canada geese are goners

Conservation & Preservation

By Tobi Cohen, Canwest News Service July 2, 2010

File photo of Canada Geese.

File photo of Canada Geese.

Photograph by: Bruce Edwards, edmontonjournal.com

Canada geese are being served up at food banks in Oregon state, where more than 100 of the iconic birds were gassed this week in retaliation for pooping up a city park.

According to local media reports, 109 Canada geese were taken from Drake Park in Bend, Ore., and asphyxiated with carbon dioxide.

Jan Taylor, a spokeswoman with the Bend Park and Recreation District, told Oregon Public Broadcasting that Canada geese have been a problem in the popular tourist region since she moved there 20 years ago.

"You want to put a blanket down in the park and you wind up walking in a lot of feces," she said.

"It's uncomfortable. People don't like it."




City officials attempted to control the burgeoning goose population through less drastic means for years before resorting to a cull that drew mixed reaction from local residents, according to Sharon Miller, executive director of NeighborImpact, a non-profit agency that will help distribute the meat to homeless shelters and needy families across the region.

The city had tried other methods: trying to trap them in nets and relocate them; getting dogs and children to chase them away; discouraging people from feeding them. Nothing worked.

"They just seem to come back and bring their friends with them," Miller said.

While the idea of a cull had been bandied about for years, Miller said this is the first time Bend officials followed through with the plan, which was hatched last fall.

Noting Bend was hit hard by the economic downturn — a third more residents are using NeighborImpact services, while the number of people collecting food stamps has nearly doubled. Miller said the meat is certainly welcome.

According to Environment Canada, migratory birds like the Canada geese may be hunted, consumed and given away as a gift for human consumption as long as one has the proper permits.

The meat, however, may be subject to health inspections and other provincial laws.

While various online blogs and comment boards suggest there are people opposed to the cull, Peter Ewins of WWF-Canada wasn't particularly taken aback by the news.

He said it's an issue that comes up every year in both the United States and Canada, which also turns to culls as a means of controlling what is clearly not an endangered species.


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