Vernon’s goose cull is drawing national opposition.
The Animal Alliance of Canada is encouraging council to reconsider their recent approval of culling Canada geese.
Last year, the primarily volunteer-based non-profit sent Vernon councillors a copy of their Habitat Modification Goose Manual when the issue of a proposed cull arose. They did not receive a reply from a single councillor.
The manual describes ways to co-habitat with geese by making areas of conflict less desirable for them to congregate. Geese are naturally open tundra nesters who prefer low-vegetation near open water, according to the manual. Changes as simple as planting shrubs or tall grasses to block sightlines in open fields or along water lines can make a significant difference to their presence in these areas.
In many communities, culls are the only option considered because killing the animals appears to be the fastest and cheapest solution to the conflict, according to Animal Alliance’s Jordan Reichert, West Coast campaign director. However, he says, it rarely resolves the conflict and often leads to year-after-year culls as the populations bounce back.
“Instead of addressing the source of the conflict, which is how we design our communities to be appealing to Canada geese, the geese are wrongly targeted as the problem and suffer for our lack of evidence-based problem-solving.”
Alliance director and bird expert Barry Kent MacKay adds: “There are many examples of municipalities in Canada that had similar problems and resolved them with creative, non-lethal habitat modification techniques. Creating a solution for Vernon is certainly feasible if council is willing.”
Animal Alliance is encouraging the Vernon politicians to go back to the drawing board and give serious consideration to habitat modification as a long-term, humane and cost-effective approach to co-habitat with geese prior to moving forward with any short-term culls.