Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Removing goslings from Prince's Island Park

In the past few days, several Calgarians have expressed their concerns about why The City is removing goslings from Prince's Island Park.

According to Michael Kenny, The City’s Parks Manager, West Division, there are a few reasons that The City has undertaken this process. The City of Calgary’s actions mirror those currently in place in many municipalities across North America to contend with large goose populations.

Firstly, when large numbers of geese are living in a small area, the geese can become very aggressive to people, including young children or the elderly who may get too close to these large birds. In the past, geese at Prince’s Island have been known to charge and attack people, especially when goslings are present.

Secondly, large numbers of geese in a small urban area translates into a big problem with excrement. "In other words too many geese at Prince’s Island means pathway users slip on the droppings and park visitors are unable to sit on the grass to enjoy the many festivals and beautiful summer days," says Kenny.

Lastly, a large non-migratory goose population in a confined area is at risk of contracting disease, which can be highly contagious and devastating for the bird population.

According to Kenny, The City takes every precaution to ensure the health and well being of these birds. Once removed from Prince’s Island, a provincially licensed expert rears the goslings for three to four weeks until they are old enough to survive on their own.

These geese are then released into rural wetlands, such as Ducks Unlimited lands, where the young birds join migratory flocks in a more natural environment.

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