Pet gander nabbed by COs

Area resident heartbroken after wild goose euthanized

A 97 Mile area resident is traumatized after conservation officers (COs) seized and euthanized Daffy, her pet Canada goose.

Marilyn Rodda says she was away when the COs entered her property, chased and captured her pet gander.

Rodda says she got a call from her distraught neighbour, informing her Daffy was to be euthanized. The neighbour had tried to forestall the gander getting grabbed by the COs, she adds.

“She actually begged him to stop it. She asked him four or five times to ‘please stop it! Why are you doing this?’

“It’s pathetic.”

Ministry of Environment (MOE) media relations issued a statement on behalf of the Conservation Officer Service, in response to requests for comment.

The statement notes that under the Wildlife Act, it is illegal to keep wildlife, including geese, as domestic pets, and the Canadian Wildlife Service will not issue permits for migratory birds to be kept as pets.

However, Rodda says she believes changes are needed in wildlife law enforcement.

“The COs have a licence to kill, and that has to take a step back. I think he failed to really look at the situation and [understand it]. Being it was a wild bird, why could it not have gone to a sanctuary [or] somewhere else – because it would have been all right?”

The MOE states the goose was not a candidate for release or rehabilitation because of disease issues associated with the handling of habituated wildlife, as well as low survivability in the wild.

Rodda had two domestic Muscovy ducks in the same pen to keep Daffy company.

The ministry statement confirms it is also a health issue for wild geese to be penned together with domestic fowl, but noted that mandate falls to the Canadian Wildlife Service and Animal Health Centre.

Rodda explains she does not understand how this is an issue, as any wild geese and ducks in the area can easily gain access to domestic fowl, such as her chickens.

Daffy was free to fly away anytime, she notes, as its wings were never clipped and the pen was only four feet high.

“If that goose flew over my fence and landed 50 feet down, what would be the difference? They lived together for three years, in different pens.”

Rodda says she has always had animals, but never kept any other wild geese before taking this gander under her wing as a gosling.

“We got Daffy as just a little ball of yellow. His mother had abandoned him.”

According to the MOE statement, COs evaluate human-wildlife situations using expertise across agencies to determine the best course of action in each case.

The ministry release states the COs have worked with Rodda to ensure an understanding of the rationale behind their actions and about the unlawful possession of wildlife.

However, Rodda says she still doesn’t understand the need to kill her pet gander.

“Geese bond for life. So, I actually was his mother, his mate. That’s what the traumatic part is of all this.

“I think that is cruelty. They took him away and they killed him. It’s heartbreaking.”

100 Mile House Free Press