Gallery: Brooklyn Residents Set Up Nighttime Watch Group to Protect Pro...

The Prospect Park geese are at the center of attention, yet again. A group of Brooklyn residents, business owners, and wildlife advocates have devised a program to stand guard over the Prospect Park geese at all hours of the day to prevent federal officials from using mass extermination methods as a way of maintaining the geese population. Armed with binoculars, cameras, and video recording equipment, the pro-geese group is determined to prevent another massacre like last summer’s.

The ordeal began on the morning of July 8, 2010, when in response to aviation safety concerns, Federal Wildlife Services staff boxed up more than 300 geese, including their young, and tossed them into gas chambers. What seemed like a logical solution in maintaining the geese population sparked huge outcry from local residents, who believed they were not informed of governments measures.

The local government had been preparing for another possible geese killing, hiring a “biologist” to manage the geese population. More protests continued after it was found out that USDA staff with the same title have used rifles in Ohio, Alaska, and Iraq to keep geese populations under control, especially near airports. In light of this, Councilmen Brad Lander and Steve Levin (D–Park Slope) introduced new legislation that would prevent another geese slaughter this summer.

Now the advocates have set up stakeouts in the park to make sure no other geese massacres take place. Groups will be set up in the evening on a rotating basis and will use binoculars, cameras, and video recording from secret outdoor locations along the park’s perimeter. “It’s heart-wrenching to think they might target those goslings,” said David Karopkin, to The Brooklyn Paper. “We’re committed to protecting them — and all of the wildlife in the park.”

Although the legality these measures is being questioned, the watch groups maintain that  it can be done legally. The stakeouts will go on till the end of summer, and the wildlife advocates will continue to pressure the city to end its goose extermination contract with the feds. The contract will expire end of June.

Many have been critical of the local advocates, stating that the Canadian geese in Prospect Park are an invasive species that are affecting the ecology of the park and raise safety concerns in regards to air travel. Residents however, point out that the geese have adapted after many generations of being in the park and are no longer invasive. They propose more humane ways of maintaining the population such as addling, no feeding regulations, dogs to scare them away, modifying habitats, and other more humane ways of maintaining the population.

“The Prospect Park program encapsulates a more modern, humane and long-term solution to wildlife management,” says Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “The Humane Society of the United States thanks the staff and leadership of Prospect Park and Prospect Park Alliance for implementing an effective program that will help protect the geese from indiscriminate slaughter.”

Via The Brooklyn Paper


or your inhabitat account below

1 Comment

  1. lazyreader May 20, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Goose patrol on the scene. In Maryland we went through great debate as to the fate of swans. Because they eat and tear up the bay grasses which is crucial habitat of the crabs and shellfish. Those grasses also help improve water quality by oxygenating the water and by preventing erosion of river banks with their root systems which also helps reduce sediments which makes the water so brown and dirty. We went about to poison or catch them; the state did this regardless of the disapproval of the residents. The mute swan (Cygnus olor) is an invasive, non-native species that was introduced to the Bay region for its ornamental value; however, the birds have had an increasingly disruptive effect on the ecology of the Bay. A large population of mute swans presents major challenges. Introduced to North America in the late 1800s as decorations for parks, zoos and private estates. Between 1910 and 1912, over 500 mute swans were imported from Europe and Asia. However, a small number of these birds escaped into the wild. These birds are actually aggressive in nature. They intrude on other swans, ducks or geese. They can attack and displace native waterfowl from their breeding areas, and may even kill the intruding pair or their young. Because mute swans do not migrate, they continuously feed on bay grasses during the summer flowering and growing periods. This reduces the amount of grasses available for migratory waterfowl. Now these New York geese may be native but keep in mind what brought down an entire airliner in the Hudson river.