City of Vancouver seeks to reduce Canada goose population

Too many geese in big city

Vancouver wants to reduce the number of Canada geese in the city – and officials are hoping locals will help out.

A Canada geese management plan is being developed by the parks board, as the birds – which can get to be over 14 pounds – are impacting park users and other wildlife. The board says they eat young grass, can be vicious when they are with goslings, and poop – a lot.

"Canada geese have inefficient digestive systems and produce more excrement for their size and the amount they eat than most other species. Wedding venues in parks and gardens struggle with keeping the areas clean of goose droppings, as do water parks," states the board.

The parks board estimates there are 3,500 resident Canada geese in the city and that number is growing, as there aren't any natural predators in the city and the climate is welcoming. Also, human food isn't helping.

“Supplemental feeding by humans can also contribute to geese being able to lay more than one clutch of eight eggs per season; meaning that if one clutch does not hatch, they can replace it. In nature, without food from humans, this wouldn’t happen,” says environmental stewardship co-ordinator Dana McDonald.

The parks board has created a website for people to report goose nests. The plan is for staff to remove nests and addle eggs. Parks staff have been shaking eggs since the early 1990s, but the number addled needs to grow to keep up with the birds' population growth.

Both the BC SPCA and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have voiced support for the practice. Parks board staff have been authorized under the Environment Canada Under the Migratory Birds Convention Act to continue the population control efforts.

Meanwhile, Vernon recently approved a cull of resident geese in the Okanagan.

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