As the population of Canada geese on Vancouver Island continues to grow, the Capital Regional District is looking into measures to reduce their numbers.
Local farmers like Dan Ponchet in Central Saanich say the geese do damage to their crops, with Ponchet estimating his losses in just one field amount to about $10,000.
“It is pretty devastating right down to the ground,” Ponchet said, looking at rows of torn apart plants. “Anything that is going to get rid of some of these geese we’re totally for it. And I hope that people are if they want to continue to get locally produced produce.”
Canada geese are one of the types of birds that stay on south Vancouver Island over the winter, with the population doubling every four years, according to CRD Board Chair Colin Plant.
“We estimate there are approximately 10 to 15,000 Canada geese on Vancouver Island, and about 3,500 to 7,000 of them winter in the region,” Plant said.
Not only are the geese causing damage to farms, but they’re also polluting local waterways, according to Plant.
That has led the CRD to look into measures to control the population, focusing on egg addling.
“What we’re proposing is to have a Canada geese management strategy that would involve culling of animals as well as addling,” Plant said.
Egg addling, or preventing an egg from hatching, is an approved method of Canada goose population control by the Government of Canada. However, a permit must be obtained before addling and must be carried at all times while destroying or sterilizing eggs.
But some are against a goose cull.
Jordan Reichert, west coast director of the Animal Alliance of Canada, said his organization would prefer non-lethal methods to reduce the flocks.
“A cull is not an effective means of population control, the population will rebound inevitably,” Reichert said. “So you just have to keep on killing birds which is both highly divisive in the community, it’s inhumane generally.”
In order to defeat the plan, 10 per cent of voters in the CRD, approximately 36,000 residents, must submit a form saying they are against the plan.
The form to submit feedback in support or opposition can be found on the CRD’s Canada Goose Management Service page here.
The deadline for feedback is Jan. 23 at noon.