Future of geese 'scrambled'

Thousands of goose eggs have been prevented from hatching in the Okanagan during the past 11 years, keeping the population of birds at about 2,500.

The annual egg-addling program, a part of the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program, works to prevent the birds' population from getting out of control.

“The 2017 population report from the Canadian Wildlife Service shows that elsewhere in B.C., the goose population is increasing at a rate of 16 per cent,” said program co-ordinator Kate Hagmeier. “Thankfully, this is not occurring in the Valley, where over 11,000 geese have been humanely prevented from entering the population, in addition to their generations of offspring, through addling.”

The geese aren't native to the Okanagan, but were introduced in the 1960s and 1970s.

“What was not foreseen was the inability of these geese to migrate because they had no parents or natural triggers to guide them, (as well as) their ability to adapt and thrive in the mild Okanagan climate,” Hagmeier said. “The consequences have been a steadily growing population with few natural controls and a need to manage this population.”

Once the eggs are shaken or coated in corn oil to make them non-viable, the eggs are returned to the nest, where geese will continue to incubate them until they realize they won't hatch.

Hagmeier says this technique doesn't harm the adult geese, and is supported by The Humane Society of the United States.

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