Delavan Lake geese captured, transported

By ANN MARIE AMES ( Contact )   Thursday, July 1, 2010

— After weeks of passionate public speeches, letters to the editor and phone calls to elected officials, it’s all over.

The Canada geese living around Delavan Lake have been captured and hauled away for processing.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Service on Wednesday herded the geese into orange and yellow crates, according to residents who talked to the Gazette.

Police from the town of Delavan and the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office prevented members of the public from approaching the geese and the federal workers, said Delavan Township resident Diane Morrison.

Morrison said she’d hoped to record the roundup with a video camera.

Morrison, a newspaper carrier, said she saw the trucks around 6:45 a.m. She said she finished her deliveries and at about 7:40 drove to the town-owned Community Park on the Delavan Lake inlet.

“I walked out on the peninsula. There were feathers everywhere but not a goose in sight—not on the peninsula, the beach. Not in the water either,” she said.

The town board in April voted to use $4,000 from the Delavan Lake Sanitary District to hire the USDA to capture and kill geese as a way to reduce the goose population.

That charge was for an estimated 200 geese, Administrator John Olson said. The USDA will invoice the town with the final numbers in the future, he said.

The wildlife service held more than 30 such roundups in 2009, spokesman Chip Lovell has said.

The meat from adult geese meat is processed for use at food pantries, and juvenile geese are processed for use at animal shelters and sanctuaries, Lovell said.

Opponents of the practice have called town of Delavan officials from around the world. Some have been reasonable, but some comments have been harassing, town board Chairwoman Dorothy Burwell said.

Locally, the Lakeland Area Animal Shelter worked to organize volunteers to clean the park as an alternative to killing geese.

Yvonne Wallace Blane of Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital in Lake Geneva wrote letters and spoke in opposition of the planned kill.

She said the next step is educating property owners—many of whom live only part time on Delavan Lake—about what happened this summer and what can be done to prevent it in the future.

“I don’t want to see this again,” she said.

Wallace Blane said the silver lining in the situation was board member Ryan Simons, who in mid-June moved to dump plans for the kill and instead accept help from the Lakeland shelter. His motion failed for lack of a second.

Burwell was one of the board members in favor of moving forward with the goose eradication plan, although she said on several occasions she took no joy in it.

Burwell is hopeful the town and the shelter still can work out a plan to reduce the goose population starting next spring in order to avoid future roundups.


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