Geese cull last resort: group

Duane Hicks

The Canadian Wildlife Federation is asking the town to consider all other options first before culling Canada geese.
In a letter to council, the CWF informed the town that Canada geese are protected under the Federal Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA).
In order to carry out such a cull, a permit is required from the federal government’s Canadian Wildlife Service.
“Several requirements have to be met in order to receive such a permit, including proof that all other measures have been ineffective in deterring the geese,” the CWF wrote.
“As such, a cull is a last-resort option when all other management options have proven ineffective,” it stressed.
“However, under the MBCA, a person is within their right to use scare tactics to deter an overabundant species provided the birds are not physically harmed and does not cause abandonment of an active nest,” the CWF added.
The issue of overabundant species, specifically geese, is a problem across Canada and the management of areas to minimize human-wildlife conflict can be a difficult task, noted the CWF.
“However, before resorting to a cull, we strongly suggest management options to deter the geese from establishing in the first place by making the habitat/conditions unfavourable,” it wrote.
“If the underlying issue of the location being attractive to geese, no matter how many are culled, others will likely take their place.”
The CWF recommends the town explore the following measures prior to pursuing a cull here:
•discourage goose access to shoreline by allowing grass to grow longer;
•plant coarse grass or shrubs;
•use noise-makers or lights as scare techniques (provided geese are not nesting);
•sonic repellers mimic the distress call of geese, causing the flock to flee;
•ensure the public is not feeding the geese or trying to attract them; and
•a product called the goose guardian has proven to be effective.
“These steps can ensure the safety and well-being of both wildlife and people,” the CWF wrote.
Council referred the letter to the Planning and Development executive committee for its recommendation during its meeting Monday night.