Two different perspectives on Denver’s Goose population.
September 19, 2019
Out of Control!
Wherever there are Canada Geese there is poop and therein lies the problem. The recent partial goose extermination in parks around Denver and use of these geese as a food source for food banks has sparked controversy. As a self proclaimed environmentalist and animal lover I understand the mixed feelings yet I am in full support with Denver’s decision. I appreciate geese just as much as the next person but I also respect the hundreds of other species of wildlife that thrive at Denver Parks that are being harmed by rising geese populations. Geese are an invasive species so they have no natural predators allowing populations to grow exponentially. I believe killing a percentage of geese populations helps ALL the users of Denver’s parks.
An out of control goose population causes an imbalance in the ecosystem affecting all the users of parks including people. Geese poop a lot, an adult goose drops 2 lbs of fecal matter daily. Goose poop contaminates the water causing algae to grow, killing other aquatic plants. Too much algae in the water causes fish to die which directly affects native birds species. In addition goose poop is a health hazard. A sophomore at South High school comments “ I have two dogs that I walk around Washington park every day. My dogs eat the Goose poop which makes them very sick. Recently I am noticing less poop on my walks and my dogs are not getting sick any more. I still see geese at Washington Park but they are no longer a nuisance or a health hazard.” Denver parks geese roundup allowed people to enjoy their local parks and nature they provide and is the most environmentally conscious response to a growing problem.
The icing on the cake is that the geese were not wasted. Denver’s homeless population is growing rapidly. The geese were fed to homeless people in food banks where protein is hard to come by and goes fast.
Stop the Killings
On July third, as all were sleeping in their beds dreaming of the day ahead, an execution took place. Dozens of Washington Park residents woke up the next day to enjoy a morning stroll through the park, only to notice the deafening silence. The night before, parks and recreation decided to round up our beloved Canadian Geese, and gas them to death. On this night, true American democracy was lost. I was utterly heartbroken when I heard of the events, I couldn’t fathom how anyone could do this. Why did they do it at night with nobody around? Why did our government decide to do this so secretly? It was our taxpayer dollars that payed for this, couldn’t they at tat least been transparent? There are so few articles online about this occurrence, that’s it is near impossible to explain, or even understand what has happened.
Some may say that it is easier to enjoy the park now, with less waste, more waterbirds to look at, and less worry of crossing paths with the geese, how could anyone be against this? Simply put, that is a narcissistic approach to the issue. How can you enjoy a park tainted with bloodshed? If your dog eats bird poop, and your solution is to kill the cause rather than taming your pet, then I pity you. “Harming defenseless animals saddens me; it changed the flavor of the park,” said Lisa Kassoff, a Washington Park resident. “It’s people who scare me, not the geese.” This is a park, a park of nature and animals, to kill them is inhumane.
Geese are migratory birds, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 claims that “The statute makes it unlawful without a waiver to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, or sell birds listed therein as migratory birds”, and to interfere with natures natural course is unfair to the environment. Wash Park is a man made park, so to say killing them “fixed the park’s ecosystem” is a cop-out for those who just want to see other kinds of birds. “Killing them will not work in the long run,” says University of Colorado Boulder professor of biology and ecology, Dr. Marc Bekoff “We will face this problem next year, as they faced in the past. Because once humans become part of the equation, in many cases they have to always be a part of the equation.” If these animals are truly invasive, than killing them will not solve the problem, at this point, the best decision is to let nature take its course and stop interfering, as it will only make things worse.
To make matters worse, the government promised us that the goose meat would go to the food banks to feed the homeless. Yet, there have been absolutely no reports or evidence saying that this actually happened. The killing of these birds was an undemocratic, inhumane, and selfish act of human nature.