Nackawic geese killed

Published Tuesday July 26th, 2011


The Town of Nackawic has killed a bunch of Canadian geese that were befouling the town's waterfront.

And that has members of the Save the Geese group on Facebook fuming.

The group had planned a public protest Saturday to support non-lethal ways of dissuading the geese from nesting along the riverfront park, but it's all for naught.

In a two-paragraph statement, Mayor Rowena Simpson and Nackawic town councillors confirmed the deed had been done.

"The Town of Nackawic recently acted on its permit that was authorized by Canadian Wildlife Services to deal with the Canada geese on its waterfront," said the news release.

"The operation was a success, bringing the number of geese to a more manageable level. The town will continue with its long-term management plan as a way to discourage the waterfowl from soiling its waterfront.

"The Town of Nackawic wishes to advise that they feel strongly that they have been open and followed the appropriate process in dealing with this contentious issue, therefore, there will be no further comment on the matter," said the news release.

The town applied for and received a lethal-removal permit from the federal government, but was required to carry out the roundup and execution of the geese by following the same rules that Canadian researchers have to follow when they destroy laboratory animals. For the geese, that meant the exterminator could break their necks or shoot them.

The town hasn't said which method was used and town recreation co-ordinator Randy Wilson said he doesn't care to comment other than to say the town followed the terms of the lethal-removal permit and the contractor followed proper procedures.

"The council was pretty clear in its directive that they don't want us to say a whole lot," Wilson said.

The town was unable to secure assistance from either federal wildlife officials or provincially trained wildlife control officers to carry out the permit. It had to hire a private contractor to kill the birds, Wilson said.

"You have to have somebody with the expertise," he said Monday.

Wilson said the town is satisfied with the way the cull was conducted and the geese were properly buried.

The removal of the geese was carried out between Friday, July 15, and Sunday, July 17. The town had to carry out its permit when the geese were molting and were flightless.

Wilson said a count of the geese was taken, but he said he can't say how many were killed.

"It is a tragedy, and I am embarrassed to be associated with a society that would allow this to happen,'' said former Nackawic councillor Karen Howell.

"I know that I will still hold my head up high knowing I did all that I could do. I offered my help to create a committee to work towards a more humane goal and it was rejected. They should be ashamed of themselves.''

"Well I guess if the town went through with the cull then there is nothing else to be done here. Good effort by all to try and save the geese and unfortunately it wasn't enough," wrote Steven Kerr, the co-founder of the Save the Geese Facebook page.

"Redneck neanderthals ... They make me ashamed to be a Canadian," wrote Marion Ambler on the Facebook page after news of the goose cull started circulating.

"I am literally in tears over this," wrote Jenny-Lee Smith on the page.

The town will still have to undertake habitat changes along the banks of the St. John River for the next two generations of geese who will be returning over the next two years to the place where they were born and raised.

Those measures include planting shrubs, letting the grass grow longer, and undertaking other landscaping measures that make the waterfront less appealing for the geese. The birds like open spaces so they can see predators and short-cropped grass makes it easy for them to feed.

"We have grown up the waterfront. This week, I'm hoping to purchase fencing,'' said Wilson.

"We know what we're going to get. We just have to purchase it, get it in and start putting it up. The next step will be to throw in the wild flowers to try to make it bushier and less attractive.''

A small number of geese eluded the roundup.

"There's still a lot of work to be done because we really don't want to go down this road again. This gives us an opportunity to manage it," he said.