Culling of Canada geese to continue at Palmerston North lagoon

Canada geese that frequent a Palmerston North lagoon will continue to be shot by the local council to manage the population.
A killing in August was called off after complaints that rounding them up and shooting them under the cover of darkness was inhumane.

The council investigated its methods, and shooting was confirmed as the best option.

Palmerston North City Council parks manager Kathy Dever-Tod said some residents would be upset that the culls were to continue, but hoped they could find comfort in the councils thorough investigations.


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She said Canada geese were invasive and their aggressive personalities deterred many people, especially young families, from using the park.

Their droppings carried diseases including avian botulism, campylobacter, e. coli, and salmonella, which posed a risk to park users, especially children, and lowered the quality of the lagoon.

Dever-Tod said they also ate the wetland plants installed by the council to help improve water quality in the lagoon.

For those reasons, culling of the Canada geese is generally supported by residents.

The previous culling methods included shooting, trapping and killing the geese on-site, planting a grass species that is thought to make them sick, and taking them off-site to be killed.

Council investigations found the grass species only made the birds unwell, which was inhumane, as was taking the birds off-site to cull them. Trapping and killing on-site manually was also considered cruel.

Dever-Tod said shooting was considered to be the most humane option, and would be done at night when the birds were asleep.

A silencer was used so neither the bird nor others in the flock were aware of what was happening, so it did not distress them.

She said the park would be closed for added health and safety, and the birds would be removed and buried off-site.

The cull only affected the Canada Geese, and no other species at the lagoon.

For health, safety and security, the council would not publish specific information on when the culling would occur.

There was criticism of a cull in January 2018, when people meeting at Caccia Birch House on the bank of the lagoon watched as the birds were herded into a net and had their necks broken.

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