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Letters to the Editor and Others

Canada Geese Vilified

Sent to the Journal News (NY) 10/16/03

Mr. Peter Bardunias may not have realized what he was doing, but he made a terribly disparaging remark about Canada geese in his article his recent letter to the Journal News (Ban on river dumps won't achieve much, October 12, 2003).

Mr. Bardunias said "A flock of Canada geese makes more sewage than does an entire marina full of boats. How about doing something about that?"

What we can do is to be truthful when speaking of a species that is among the most unjustly persecuted in recent memory.

Canada geese have been vilified as filthy birds who spread disease, but this could not be further from the truth. Dr. Timothy Ford, professor at the Harvard School of Public Health states: "In my mind, there is no possibility that the Canada goose will ever be a major route of (Cryptosporidium) infection."

Cryptosporidium is the bacterium that is widely blamed as the bridge between goose feces and disease in humans. Dr. Milton Friend, former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife Research Center on Water Fowl Disease states: "We do have a lot of diseases out there that can affect people. Most of them come from different places and do not come from the Canada goose and I'll leave you with that."

Public health and disease experts exonerate Canada geese of playing a role in the transmission of diseases to humans. It is time the public recognized that fact.

Canada geese are among the most misunderstood waterfowl. After finding a life mate, mated pairs raise and protect their young together and will also look out for one another for as long as they live. Those who have spent time observing geese will tell you that these very emotional, intelligent and extremely devoted creatures deeply mourn not only the loss of their mates, but also the destruction of their eggs.

Geese are now part of the suburban landscape and when we learn to co-exist peacefully with them, it enhances our appreciation of wildlife and the natural world. Perpetuating mistruths about geese does no one any good.

Joe Miele, Vice President
Wildlife Watch, Inc.
Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561
201-368-8271

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