A program to cull invasive, nonmigratory Canada geese in British Columbia’s North Okanagan has the strong support of Vernon city council.
Councillors have voted 6-1 in favour of the program to spend up to $40,000 to eliminate as many as 250 geese.
Only Mayor Victor Cumming voted against the cull, which still needs a management plan from wildlife biologist as well as federal and provincial approval.
Initial plans would see about 10 kayakers rounding up the geese at three Vernon-area beaches on Okanagan Lake, something Cumming says would have to be done annually, to keep numbers in check.
Staff say a longer-term plan will be created and council was encouraged to maintain other options, including an egg addling program which destroys the embryo of fertilized eggs but leaves the eggs in the nest so geese do not lay more.
Word of the cull has already prompted two separate petitions signed by nearly 2,000 opponents of the plan.
In addition to addling, council has been told alternatives to a full-scale cull could include sport hunting and kill-to-scare, a process that removes a single animal from the flock, generally encouraging the birds to move to another location for a period of time.
Kelowna has used kill-to-scare tactics in the past to control its goose population.
Canada geese were introduced in several areas of B.C. in the 1960s and ’70s.
But populations grew rapidly and the introduced birds do not migrate, meaning the more than one kilogram of droppings each produces daily fouls beaches and parks and damages water quality.
Councillors in Coldstream, just east of Vernon, are also mulling some sort of goose control in the municipality’s parks and along beaches on Kalamalka Lake.
Coldstream has requested a presentation from local resident and wildlife specialist Pete Wise, after learning he was instrumental in the 2016 cull of nearly 500 geese from the area around Parksville, on Vancouver Island.
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