It looks like the city’s at it again. Less then a year ago, federal agents from the USDA gathered close to 300 geese in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and exterminated them, and now the NYC Department of Sanitation is hiring a biologist from the USDA in an effort to track the “wildlife hazards” of Prospect Park geese. The Brooklyn Paper reports that although the exact duties of the biologist are unclear, USDA staff with the same title have used rifles in Ohio, Alaska, and Iraq to keep geese populations under control, especially near airports. Just last week, residents gathered in the park to protest the 2010 geese gassing, and now it looks like another killing may be in the works.
The 2010 extermination came as a response to an emergency plane landing in the Hudson River, piloted by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. The debate continues as animal rights activists are crying foul, while city officials maintain that efforts are needed to control the population of what many consider to be an invasive species. Many residents are horrified by the fact that the extermination has expanded to Prospect Park, a full seven miles away from JFK and LaGuardia, without a public discussion. However, Matthew LiPani, a spokesman for the city, maintained that after consulting with “a panel of technical experts,” the new measures were necessary.
USDA spokeswoman, Carol Bannerman, told the Brooklyn Paper, “It isn’t the answer people want to hear, but when there are hundreds of birds, the risk [to airplanes] is higher.”
However, many detractors claim that the Canadian geese, which are native to northeastern regions of the U.S., have adopted a non migratory way of life. There are also other alternatives being proposed, such as transporting the geese to a safer location, scaring them away with dogs, or instating new park regulations to prevent feeding the geese. Given the situation, it seems as though the best solution would be to hold a public hearing, where the local residents and other experts could weigh in on the problem.