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Letters to the Editor and Others

Don't Kill Canada Geese in Missouri

Wildlife Watch Inc.
Helping People, Environment, and Wildlife
PO BOX 562, NEW PALTZ, NY 12561
Voice:(845) 256-1400; Fax:(845) 622-7999
e-mail: wildwatch@earthlink.net
Contact: Joe Miele, Vice President 201-368-8271

Wendy Sangster, Wildlife Biologist
Missouri Dept. of Conservation,
4750 Troost Ave,
Kansas City, MO 64110

May 22, 2003

Dear Ms. Sangster:

On behalf of our 2,000 Missouri supporters, we oppose any lethal control methods used to manage the Canada goose population in Missouri.  Our experience has proven that non-lethal methods of goose dissuasion are effective in the long term in addressing the problems associated with the birds.

Non-lethal strategies for the control of Canada geese have been employed successfully in other parts of the country.  On July 2, 1995, the New York Times reported on the goose control programs used by several New Jersey towns.   New Jersey has the densest population of both resident and migratory Canada geese.

In Allendale, the town has been using pistol noisemakers to scare off geese.  Town employees shoot off noisemakers early in the morning which frightens away the birds. So far, it's working; no geese have been sighted in Allendale.

The town of Demarest hung green flags around the Tenakill Brook. Despite vandals tearing down some of the pennants, the goose population has been cut in half, because the flags make the geese nervous.

Dow Jones and Company Inc. started using two Border Collies in 1991 at their 175-acre corporate headquarters. The dogs herd the geese into the pond and then keep circling it.  Frustrated because they cannot eat, the geese fly off.

Other towns have used non-toxic chemicals that when sprayed on grassy areas that are attractive to geese, renders the field either visually or tastefully unattractive.  As a result, the geese fly off to more friendly surroundings.

Concerns about geese spreading disease to humans through casual contact with goose feces are unfounded.   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."

Canada geese are among the most misunderstood waterfowl.  When the truth is told it benefits the community as well as the geese themselves.  Canada geese mate for life.  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.  Lethal means of goose control merely divide communities and bring grief to many citizens concerned with the humane treatment of wildlife.  Please do what you can to see that the Canada geese living in Missouri are managed with non-lethal methods.  If you need any assistance in establishing such programs, please get in touch with us and we will assist you in your efforts.  Your reply will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Joe Miele

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