VERNON, B.C. — Non-native, resident Canada geese in British Columbia's north Okanagan have overstayed their welcome and Vernon council has voted in favour of a cull.
Councillors have approved a motion to spend an estimated $41,000 to euthanize up to 150 birds in several area parks.
Culling programs aimed at habituated deer have been strongly opposed in the past, but the councillor who proposed the goose cull says she has been flooded with letters of support.
Coun. Dalvir Nahal says the provincial government should get involved because most municipalities have similar concerns about aggressive geese and the piles of excrement they leave behind.
A program set up to manage Canada geese in the Okanagan estimates about 2,500 resident birds nest between Vernon and Osoyoos, but 70 nests were found around Vernon last year, up from an average of 20.
The federal and provincial governments must approve any cull before it can proceed.
Non-native Canada geese were first introduced in the Okanagan in the 1970s and quickly outnumbered the few migratory geese that stopped during their annual journeys north and south.
Experts say the migratory geese don't usually interbreed with residents, which can live for up to 30 years, produce more offspring than their migratory cousins and never leave the area where they are raised.
Coun. Scott Anderson, who supports a cull, says the geese are affecting the use of many parks and beaches in Vernon.
"To me, this is an unpleasant duty, but it’s a duty," says Anderson.
"Kin Beach is unusable, Marshall Fields are just covered in manure and Polson Park is unusable."
Vernon council now plans to write to other north Okanagan communities that don't have control measures, urging them to take steps to curb populations of resident Canada geese. (CKIZ)
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021.