Vancouver Park Board approves ‘lethal removal’ in Canada goose management plan

The Vancouver Park Board is looking to crack down on the city’s growing goose population, which is currently at 2,000, but has the potential to grow to 10,000 by 2030, Monika Gul reports.

The Vancouver Park Board passed a plan Monday night to manage the Canada goose population around the city.

The motion includes the “lethal removal” of geese from parks, which staff says uses humane methods approved by regulators to end the life of the geese, but this type of removal can’t be put in place just yet as it requires a permit from the Canadian Wildlife Service.

While this option is available, it is not necessarily going to be used.

The park board is also required to submit a comprehensive management plan on how the geese are to be removed.

This move comes after a report was released suggesting Vancouver’s Canada goose population would increase from 2,000 to 10,000 by 2030 unless action is taken.

Going into Monday night’s meeting, the Vancouver Park Board was presented with two courses of action on how to deal with the geese before their numbers increased.

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Plan A included continued egg addling, which is a process that involves replacing newly laid goose eggs with previously frozen eggs, along with landscape modifications, increased enforcement of the wildlife feeding bylaw, and hazing – which is done by scaring geese with dogs or a machine called a “Gooseinator.”

Plan B includes all of the procedures outlined in Plan A, but with the addition of using lethal measures to kill geese.

Plan A is estimated to have taken about 15 to 20 years, while Plan B is expected to take five to 10 years.

“I’m leaning against the lethal option, against the geese in the city. I mean, I’m willing to hear a discussion about it. I mean, the geese are a serious problem, but it seems to me unnecessary to move to lethal options. There are so many non-lethal options,” Commissioner Tom Digby told CityNews prior to Monday’s vote.

Digby says the geese eat a lot of grass before mildly processing it and leaving it behind, causing problems in some important areas.

“Unfortunately this is on our beaches, and it’s on our fields, the playing fields especially, and the kids’ playgrounds.”

A UBC Okanagan biology professor says the issue with having too many geese around stretches further than just “poop in the park” as well.

“It can be really quite painful if you get bit by a goose or hit with one of their wings. So yeah, we need to keep in mind that there’s a human safety component to this,” Adam Ford explained.

One speaker at the meeting argued that lethal measures were unnecessary, and explained Vancouver had made the perfect habitat for geese with a surplus of grassy waterside parks.

With files from David Nadalini

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