Nanaimo, B.C., mulls solution to damage caused by huge flocks of Canada geese | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Nanaimo, B.C., mulls solution to damage caused by huge flocks of Canada geese

September 28, 2017 - 11:34 AM

NANAIMO, B.C. - Huge flocks of Canada geese can be unwanted pests in any location, but several Vancouver Island cities say the geese have moved past messy and aggressive and are harming the environment.

Nanaimo, B.C., environmental protection officer Kevin Brydges says Canada geese were brought to the island for hunting in the 1970s and 1980s and have adapted so well that they no longer migrate in winter.

Researchers at Vancouver Island University say as many as 1,800 birds overwinter in Nanaimo, leaving droppings and eating through grasses vital to the health of river estuaries.

Confirmation of the size of the Nanaimo flock will help the city decide on a management strategy, which Brydges says may include population control similar to a cull carried out in the nearby City of Parksville last year.

Tim Clermont, with Guardians of Mid-Island Estuaries, says before the Parksville cull, the geese had eaten almost 80 per cent of estuary grasses and destroyed shelter for migrating salmon.

"They affect tourism when people come here to enjoy our beaches. And when you have lots of geese, sometimes they've had to close beaches," Clermont says.

But Brydges, who is part of a group seeking a unified approach to the problem, predicts if Canada geese are removed from one area, birds from other areas will come in to fill the void.

Brydges says a cull has not been proposed in Nanaimo but could be considered, and relocation is an option but there are rules about relocating geese.

"And, to be honest, you're basically moving the problem from one place to another. These geese are smart, they're habituated and they will find their way back," he says. (NanaimoNewsNow)

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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