It seems that things have taken a turn for the stranger in the waterfowl world. Last week we blogged about how a group of animal lovers hosted a funeral for 109 nuisance geese that were exterminated from an Oregon park. Now 400 geese from a park in Brooklyn were rounded up and killed with carbon dioxide. It’s one of the largest geese killings in the city’s recent history.
The geese were molting and unable to fly when wildlife biologists with the federal Agriculture Department gathered them up in crates and then gassed them in a nearby building. The killing was done to eliminate geese near the major airports in New York after a flock of geese caused a plane to crash land into the Hudson River last year.
“The thing to always remember in this New York situation is that we are talking about aviation and passenger and property safety,” Carol Bannerman told the New York Times. “In New York City, from 1981 to 1999, the [goose] population increase was sevenfold.”
Geese were more or less extinct from New York in the early 1900s and birds were shipped in to rebuild the population. But oddly enough, New York City does not have a relocation system for nuisance geese. In other words, geese check in but they don’t check out of the Big Apple. Also, the geese were thought to be fulltime residents of the park, living on breadcrumbs and enjoying the easy city life. Because of this, there was really no chance for hunters to pick them off as they migrated later in the year.
Perhaps the saddest part of the story is that the carcasses of the 400 geese were double bagged and dumped into a landfill. According to the New York Times, the Agriculture department regularly donates goose meat and 900 pounds of goose breast was given to food pantries in Pennsylvania this year. It’s unclear why these 400 geese were dumped instead of donated.