City council considers culling geese population
By JOHN MOORHOUSE
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Penticton city council wants to gun down the local Canada goose population.
The city is applying to the Canadian Wildlife Service for a permit to cull the geese which have been fouling local parks, beaches and waterways.
Council voted unanimously Monday night to apply for a culling permit, while referring four other control measures to its 2010 budget deliberations. These include an annual goose "roundup" where geese are caught during their summer flightless period and relocated elsewhere.
The city also wants to encourage greater regional participation in control efforts, increase funding for long-term goose management, and increase the city‘s goose-scaring program.
John Kirbyson, the city‘s director of parks, recreation and culture, told council a regional goose management program introduced in 2006 has seen some success, but little immediate impact on the local goose population.
The forecast is that the population of nesting birds will remain stable or start to decrease in the next few years, Kirbyson said. About 4,000 goose eggs have been addled (shaken) to prevent goslings from hatching over the past three years, he said. The regional program also involves habitat modification, anti-feeding bylaws and various scare tactics.
Goose droppings on beaches and in the water have posed a growing health concern, he said.
"No doubt Canada geese are beautiful birds, but as an introduced species their numbers are increasing and can cause damage to our property, especially our lake water quality," he said. "The goal of this program is not to eliminate Canada geese, but to reduce their numbers to a level that is satisfactory."
Unlike migratory geese, which only stop in the Okanagan for a short time, there is a growing population which remains in the Valley year-round.
The City of Kelowna obtained a permit this year to shoot 50 geese, with a maximum of two per day, in a bid to get the birds‘ resident population under control. The city faced serious water quality problems along its beaches this summer due to the geese.
In addition to beach concerns. Mayor Dan Ashton pointed to a Summerland boy who needed to be sent to B.C. Children‘s Hospital with a serious infection related to goose droppings in the water.
"Something has to be done," Ashton said. "We have to bring this situation back into some semblance of order which hasn‘t been transpiring to date."
INFORMATIVE ARTICLES ABOUT HUMANE GOOSE POPULATION CONTROL MEASURES AND OTHER ISSUES:
- For the umpteenth time, geese are not a health threat
- Donating goose meat to food banks?
- Humane Methods and Success Stories