Damned dead geese

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. “
Aldo Leopold

If human and wildlife justice systems were the same, your whole community would be annihilated if you were hit by a car.  Ridiculous, isn’t it?  Well that is exactly what happened to 400 Canadian Geese in Brooklyn last July.

The excuse for the mass killings was that a flock of Branta canadensis was sucked into an airliner’s jet engines that crashed in the Hudson River.   Everyone on the flight survived.

The geese were gassed under the cloak of night after New York o.k’d the removal of geese within an 11 km radius of the airport.

Too bad for the geese and surrounding environment that the 400 goners were well outside this zoning regulation, more than 14 km away.   They were tossed in a landfill, causing an outcry from conservationists and goose meat lovers.

Although this cull was  unnecessary  for the stated  reason  of airline security, it pleased residents who claimed that the bird was becoming a nuisance.

Many of the complaints against the geese are symptomatic of a spoiled human population. They’re noisy, messy and can be  aggressive, so therefore, they no longer deserve to live.

Wildlife management is a curious thing.   Sometimes, culling is the best way to promote a healthy ecosystem.

Canadian geese were in severe decline a few decades ago, but have since rebounded to support a healthy population of goose hunters.   These killings, however, have no base in sound management since non-lethal methods of removal can be used.

Although the cull appears nonsensical and absurd, the Forest Lakes Community Association supports the killings, stating that they are “potentially deadly” birds.

Oregon, New Jersey and New York are among some of the U.S states enacting a cull on Canadian geese.   In Canada, Nova Scotia is culling Canadian geese to prevent a population outbreak that may cause crop damage, but has not as of yet.

The culls are going to continue as long as it is the most economical method for controlling wildlife.   The thing about this type of control is that a new, potentially more pervasive nuisance species will take the Canadian goose’s place.

In a world where we continually remove natural habitat, why do we punish the wildlife that adapt best to our urban surroundings?

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