USDA Wildlife Services has been lethally removing Canada Geese from the Puget Sound area for 14 years. Geese are rounded up from parks and gassed to death or shot.
In 2015 Wildlife Services killed 578 geese in King County and 287 on Lake Washington. Shooting has become their preferred method of killing, but they also conducted two round-ups on Lake Washington where they gassed to death geese and their goslings. The numbers for 2016 will not be available until next year.
In a report to members of the Interlocal Agreement, Wildlife Services stated that they hazed and harassed 3,892 geese in King County. The techniques used included “working dogs, boats, paintballs, and firearms.”
In a decreasing trend, egg addling dropped to just 292 eggs. Clearly, egg addling is not a priority. It is obviously much easier to shoot geese or round them up and gas them instead of addling eggs to prevent their development.
Humane solutions to mitigate conflicts with geese in urban areas exist. In addition to addling, the following are effective: landscape modifications, goose deterrent products and control techniques, automated devices to clean up goose droppings, and education and public outreach on the need to stop feeding waterfowl.
Officials often cite health concerns as a reason to justify the killings. However, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) website, “Canada geese are not considered to be a significant source of any infectious disease transmittable to humans or domestic animals.”
As part of an interlocal agreement to kill geese, several cities are working together, including Bellevue, Kent, Kirkland, Mountlake Terrace, Port of Seattle – Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Renton, Seattle Parks and Recreation, SeaTac, Tacoma Metro Parks, Tukwila, Woodinville, University of Washington, and Washington State Parks.
If you live in one of these cities listed above, or have connections to UW, please contact officials directly and ask them to stop the killings and opt out of the agreement.
Tell them that killing geese creates a void in the environment, other geese quickly move in, and a new round of killing begins. This creates an endless cycle of killing. The brutal killing of thousands of geese including their newborn goslings is unacceptable. We must do a better job of sharing the earth with wildlife.