After attempting to remove geese from the areas surrounding Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, federal officials have released a map shows where they can capture and kill geese within a seven-mile radius of those two airports—an area that encompasses almost all of New York City.
The map, which was obtained by the Brooklyn Paper through a Freedom of Information request, shows these so-called “kill zones”, where the government has a right to kill geese. It covers half of Brooklyn, all of Manhattan (excluding the Battery), and most of the Bronx and Queens.
The movement to eradicate geese from Gotham's skies follows January 2009’s “Miracle on the Hudson” emergency water landing, which was caused when birds fouled up the engines of U.S. Airways Flight 1549.
Carol Bannerman, a spokesperson for the Federal Wildlife Services, said that the plan was not to completely eradicate all of the geese in the area. She told the Brooklyn Paper that the goal “is to manage resident Canada goose populations to achieve an optimal balance between the positive values and conflicts associated with these birds. Near airports, this would mean fewer wildlife hazards and risks.”
However, there have been concerns of how successful a program like this could be.
In July, Federal Agents slaughtered hundreds of geese in Prospect Park, leading them into gas chambers in a similar attempt to help prevent geese from colliding with airplanes; however, their population has risen and is almost back to normal levels.
“The goal of eliminating geese in seven miles, it’s just not possible,” said Patrick Kwan, the state director of the Humane Society of the United States, to the Paper. “We know that wildlife eradication programs don’t work.”
Although there is no plan currently to kill any more geese, over 1,235 geese were killed in New York in 2009, and hundreds more have been killed in 2010.