As Vernon debates geese cull, this Vancouver Island community decided to harvest the birds - InfoNews

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As Vernon debates geese cull, this Vancouver Island community decided to harvest the birds

Geese take flight near Paddlewheel Park in Vernon, September, 2019.
February 24, 2020 - 1:01 PM

While politicians in Vernon prepare to debate whether or not to cull geese at a local park, the small Vancouver Island community of Parksville reports it is having tremendous success with its program to reduce the number of birds.

Parksville started culling geese five years ago - and using all the meat. It made the decision to cull geese in 2015 and the following year destroyed 484 birds.

“It’s a harvest as opposed to a cull,” Parksville spokesperson Deb Tardiff told iNFOnews.ca.

All the meat is used by local First Nations with nothing going to waste. Parksville has completed goose kills each year since 2016 and the effect can be noticed.

“You (can) see the difference it’s making in our estuary,” Tardiff said.

Vernon city council is to decide whether or not to approve culling the geese at Kin Beach. The option of hunting the birds hasn’t been recommended by City staff. Another option is to cull the birds and leave their carcasses laying on the beach to scare off other birds but that option also wasn’t recommended.

If you’re wondering why Vernon is looking at taking more drastic measures in dealing with the geese than other Okanagan communities, statistics show Kin Beach to be a very popular geese hangout. The number of geese that frequent the beach is significantly higher than other areas on Okanagan Lake.

A survey conducted by the Okanagan Regional Goose Management Committee reported 145 geese on Kin Beach, with over one-third of them being young. Kalamalka Lake in Coldstream recorded 78. The study found 25 at the Kelowna waterfront and seven at Gellaty Bay in West Kelowna. Penticton marina had just five.

The number of geese in Summerland and Peachland was higher, with 62 at Peachland’s Ray Kandola Park and 53 at Summerland’s waterfront. The only place with a higher number of geese than Vernon was Vaseux Lake with 193, and the area north of Oliver is a designated migratory bird sanctuary.

The geese that live in and around Kin Beach are not a native species to the area and were introduced in the 1960s and 1970s. The Okanagan Regional Goose Management Committee report says because the geese were introduced they never learnt to migrate.

In an effort to control the goose population an egg addling program was introduced in 2007 and was again revamped in 2013 to greater results. The Okanagan Regional Goose Management Committee estimates the program has prevented more than 40,000 geese from calling the Okanagan home.

Other cities do use other methods to control geese. The City of Ottawa contracted a drone specialist to help in its geese mitigation plan. The drone scares the birds and makes predatory bird noises. One U.S. pest control company sells life-sized plastic coyotes used to scare off the birds.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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