February 25, 2021

Denver seeks to decimate them in parks and feed the poor

The growing number of geese that occupy several popular parks in Denver, Colorado (USA) has led local authorities to launch "rodeos" to hunt them with the aim of ending a public health problem and, step, feed poor people in the city.

These Canadian geese hunts have provoked an intense debate among those who are tired of dealing with the tons of excrement that these animals deposit in green spaces and those who maintain that killing these birds is not a long-term solution.

The objective of the operation is to capture some 300 geese per day out of the 5,000 that are estimated to live in the most affected parks, for a total of 60,000 birds of this type that have made Denver their permanent residence.

But, according to the Denver City Hall, the responsibility falls partly on humans, because of the population growth in the Colorado capital and the consequent increase in the number of visitors to local parks, which causes conflicts.

In these parks there have been "aggressions" on the part of the animals during their nesting season, as well as greater security risks for the vehicles.

At the same time, the geese make their own and malodorous contributions to the problem.

The Division of Parks Denver (DPR) estimates that each goose deposits daily up to half a kilogram of feces, so that the 5,000 geese that live in the aforementioned parks accumulate up to 2,500 kilograms of feces per day.

In fact, large sections of the parks are already covered with feces of geese and are unattractive to the public.

"There is no vegetation anymore, the geese have eaten everything, they leave their droppings anywhere on the ground, and in the lake the algae has started to grow, and the time has come to respond to the damage that these geese are causing," said Scott Gilmore, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation of Denver, in a press conference with the local media.

Gilmore, a wildlife biologist, explained that the "geese rodeo" is necessary because the non-lethal methods of controlling the geese, besides being expensive, are already ineffective, and because the warmer winters cause the geese no longer migrate and live now full time in Denver.

He stressed that "Denver parks were built for people, not for geese," but these birds insist on ignoring the signs that indicate and continue to congregate in the artificial lakes of the populous City Park and the even more populous Park. Washington.

The result is as unpleasant as the tons of excrement.

In fact, the official statement from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) about the joint operation of federal and local employees against Denver geese explains that "the population of geese living in this area is already too large".

The USDA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Parks and Wildlife of Colorado (CPW) are responsible for the task of capturing, killing and processing thousands of geese and the heavy task of cleaning the parks remains in the hands of municipal staff and volunteers.

The "rodeos" are quite simple: a corral with plastic fences is built in the park and the geese are guided to that place, by means of sounds, movements of arms or other means, including small boats with remote control.

Once inside the corral USDA staff traps them and transport them to the processing site, where, once ready for human consumption, they are donated to needy families.

There are varied ways to prepare the lean meat of this bird, which according to Drake Larsen, researcher of sustainable agriculture at the Iowa State University, Atlantic magazine is "as tasty" and "versatile" as the cow.

But not all experts agree with the "rodeos," and, in the opinion of Marc Bekoff, a biologist and former ecology professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, killing the geese "will not solve the problem in the long term."

In prepared statements, Bekoff considered that "next year we will have the same problem, as we had in the past," insisting that the overpopulation of geese in Denver parks is the result of "now humans are part of the equation "

For example, the public continues to feed geese in parks, thus reducing the effectiveness of measures to control them.

This fact adds to the fact that in parks they are more protected from the attacks of their natural predators such as raccoons, foxes, hawks or coyotes.

Instead, they have to face some machines installed by DPR that look like fierce predator and makes a supposedly nasty noise for birds and has the aggressive name of "Goosinator" (Gansonator).

This tool has been used since 2013 to keep Canadian geese away from certain areas of nine parks in the city, although the growing discomforts caused the authorities to take much more drastic measures.

Francisco Miraval

(tagsToTranslate) Geese (t) Denver (t) decimate (t) parks (t) feed

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