Should authorities euthanize geese when public health is threatened?
By: LFDA Editor
Canada geese are creating problems in some communities, fouling public areas and water supplies, even threatening air traffic. Some communities, with the help of a federal agency, solve the problem by killing the geese. Is this a reasonable solution?
In New Hampshire, according to statistics cited by the Eagle Tribune, the resident Canada geese population rose roughly 50% from 1997-2010.
The Humane Society says "Canada geese are traditionally associated with lakes and ponds, but they also spend time on land and will nest some distance from water if the site seems safe. Artificial ponds and lakes, storm water impoundments, and vast expanses of good grazing surfaces typical of municipal parks, corporate and school campuses, golf courses, and other human-built environments are ideal habitat for geese. This is the main reason they have settled in to year-round residency and have grown in numbers in suburban and urban areas."
"A Canada goose produces a minimum of a half to one pound of feces per day, per bird," said Carol Bannerman, public affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services. That can create environmental and aesthetic problems.
The birds are a federally protected wildlife species and New Hampshire Fish and Game does not handle nuisance issues. That chore goes to the USDA.
The USDA recommends ways to discourage geese from an area (a no-feeding policy in public parks, for example) and tries to relocate them; the agency only agrees to culling them when no other means work.
New Hampshire also has a Canada goose hunting season in September, with a daily bag limit of five and a possession limit of 10.
What's the proper course of action here? Should authorities euthanize geese when public health is threatened?