New York Plans to Gas 170,000 Geese

Population of Canada Geese to be reduced by two-thirds: Report

By Jillian Scharr
|  Friday, Jul 23, 2010  |  Updated 6:46 PM EDT
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New York Plans to Gas 170,000 Geese

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In the wake of the 400 geese removed from Prospect Park and gassed to death, a report, obtained by the New York Times shows that the city and state has plans to reduce the goose population in New York from approximately 250,000 to 85,000.

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In the wake of the 400 geese removed from Prospect Park and gassed to death, a report, obtained by the New York Times shows that the city and state has plans to reduce the goose population in New York from approximately 250,000 to 85,000. 

That means 170,000 geese are cooked -- or gassed, more accurately.

The plan comes from five months of meetings after the US Airways Flight 1549 struck a flock of geese mid-flight and lost both engines in an emergency landing on the Hudson River, a high-level official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture told the New York Times.

"The population of resident Canada geese needs to be reduced in metropolitan New York City to protect aviation safety," the report reads.

The report also cites the need to keep water supplies free of fecal contamination, property damage, loss of land use and contaminated water due to fecal droppings, and the expense of geese relocation programs as reasons for the action.

The plan is to gas "all resident Canada geese...within 5 miles of airports in metropolitan New York City."  The geese will be "brought to a secure location and euthanized with methods approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association" and then "buried," according to the city's report.

Hunting, the preferable method for animal population control, has been ruled out in this case because it's too risky in the city's densely-packed urban environment.

Interestingly, of the 676 reported bird strikes at JFK airport and the 410 reported at LaGuardia between 2004 and 2008, only five and four respectively involved Canada geese.

The report also notes that there are two types of Canada geese: migratory and resident, the latter being the primary target.  The state DEP estimates that 20 to 25 thousand resident geese live in the metropolitan New York region. 

These geese pose a more serious threat because they become sexually mature at two years of age, while migratory geese reproduce at ages three to five, and because they "adapt to hunting by locating properties where hunting is prohibited or does not occur," the report states.

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