Animal Alliance of Canada steps up opposition to 'kill to scare' goose plan in Vernon

Goose plan 'doomed to fail'

The Animal Alliance of Canada is stepping up its efforts against a proposed goose cull in Vernon.

The organization has taken out full-page newspaper ads, and in a new post on its website on Thursday says the City of Vernon's 'kill to scare' plan targeting dominant geese won't work because it's not supported by science.

It says the measures are "doomed to fail."

"The Canadian Wildlife Service says that a kill to scare approach will not significantly reduce goose numbers. It's clear this proposal from Vernon lacks a basic understanding of goose behaviour and socialization," says alliance director Barry Kent MacKay.

Council applied in 2021 to conduct a cull but had its application rejected.

The city is applying for a new permit, but a report to council earlier this month said administration is finding it difficult to find a contractor.

The plan is aimed at scaring off flocks of Canada geese by killing so-called dominant birds in the group.

However, the alliance says there is no such thing as a dominant goose.

"They take turns being the leader when they fly to conserve energy, but on the ground, there is no leader to identify in their general socialization patterns. If this is the premise of the city’s kill to scare program, there is no evidence to support it," said the AAC's Jordan Reichert.

The group says geese mate for life, "so killing one goose of a pair may cause the other to remain nearby after the loss for an extended period. Leaving dead geese on the ground may also be an attractant to scavengers, which may cause further conflict between people using the beaches and parks and other wildlife."

The alliance urges non-lethal alternatives.

It has submitted a habitat modification manual council, but says it has not received a response.

"Our offer to assist Vernon city council still stands," said MacKay.

The goose population and its fouling of local beaches and parks has been a topic of discussion for years.

In the meantime, the city has authorized turf cleaning at area parks three times a week.

Originally, the city plan was to cull up to 150 of the birds.

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