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Plan to cull Canada geese gets go-ahead from CRD

The plan, which includes egg addling, culls and education to reduce damage to farmers’ fields and sensitive ecosystems, was approved by Capital Regional District board members on Wednesday
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Surveys show local goose numbers are doubling every four years, the Capital Regional District says. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

A Canada goose management plan that includes culls was approved by Capital Regional District board members on Wednesday to tackle ongoing problems with geese damaging farmers’ fields and sensitive ecosystems, as well as accumulations of poop on fields and playgrounds.

Surveys show local goose numbers are doubling every four years, the district said.

A goose management working group will be set up this year, pending budget approval in April, and will be assessed every year.

Its job will be to run an egg-addling program, carry out culls, line up federal and provincial permits and do outreach and education.

Members will include First Nations, local government, stewardship groups and others affected by the geese.

Board members voted to approve a bylaw permitting the goose management plan to proceed.

“The current population of non-migratory resident Canada geese [is] impacting farmland and degrading coastal ecosystems and waterways, public and private lands and increasing risk to public health across the region,” said Colin Plant, chair of the CRD board.

Jordan Reichert of the Animal Alliance of Canada has spoken out against culls, saying it’s more effective to modify habitat to discourage geese because culls merely free up space for more geese to move in.

Many of the geese seen in the region are offspring of those brought to B.C. starting in the 1950s and into the 1980s in part to offer more hunting opportunities.

Vancouver Island’s goose population had been relatively modest until then.

Now there are an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 birds in the region. Of those, 3,500 to 7,000 are believed to spend the winter here.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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