Canada Geese in Vernon, British Columbia, have been under threat.
Thankfully, they have just received a reprieve, one we welcome and are convinced we helped bring about.
The Issue of Canada geese in Vernon
Vernon’s council decided to conduct a cull of Canada Geese once the required studies had been completed and governmental permits provided. In late June, July and early August, the geese go through a molting period where they can’t fly. They choose areas where there is water for safety and easy access to food, particularly grass where they can graze in open areas and easily escape any dangers. This makes parklands and beachfronts ideal habitat for them. But where we find Canada Geese, we also find their fecal waste. And that’s why they are sometimes targeted for removal through lethal means.
Actions We Took
Animal Alliance of Canada has been working to convince Vernon’s council to reconsider their decision since learning about it this spring. We have already used our donors’ funds to:
- conduct research through “Freedom of Information” Requests ($500)
- produce a response to the Okanagan Valley’s flawed goose management plan ($500)
- alert the public through media releases ($1,000)
- place an ad in a local newspaper encouraging residents to oppose the cull ($1,000)
We reached out directly to Vernon’s council to recommend effective, non-lethal options and to offer our assistance. We provided council with a copy of our Source Book titled: “Habitat Modification and Canada Geese”, a manual that explains how plantings and other landscape changes to break up broad expanses of grass can make areas less attractive to geese so fewer will congregate. Habitat modification has long-term results and does not interfere with human enjoyment of the area.
An AAC staffer, along with a board member, submitted a challenge of the municipality’s documentation. We established that Canada Geese are not an introduced species, but are native birds protected by Canada’s Migratory Bird Convention Act.
According to reports, the council had been planning to spend $40,000 to kill 250 geese in one year. This kind of killing would need to be repeated again and again and would not have its intended effect. Instead, those funds should be invested in habitat modification to provide a more permanent, non-lethal solution.
Thankfully, it’s now reported that the federally-funded oversight body, the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), has informed Vernon’s council that they “do not have the capacity” to review their application to allow the cull to be completed this year. Without this review and a permit, the cull cannot take place, at least for this year. This reprieve gives us more time to advocate for a better approach.
We’ve Been Successful Before. We Can Do It Again.
Government agencies know that Animal Alliance takes great interest in proposals to cull wild animals. We’ve been successful in the past in preventing a cull of Canada Geese around Kelowna, BC. We have been able to convince councils to stop culling deer and to adopt non-lethal measures instead. We’ve worked with local advocates to stop the routine trapping of beaver on public lands by adopting flow devices that protect infrastructure and prevent flooding while leaving beavers in place.
The True Cost of Culls
Wildlife culls need to be repeated again and again because they are effective only in the short-term. Over time they are very costly.
But there are other costs as well. We cannot ignore the suffering that sensitive animals endure when subjected to violent death. Many of us use the excuse that violence and killing is acceptable if the animals are causing us inconvenience. There is always a better way. Humane, effective and less costly solutions build ecologically rich communities.
Culls, like all bad ideas, can spread. When culls take place in one community, others are often led to adopt a similar approach. We believe that when we stop one cull, we are preventing others from taking place too. And, when we convince a community to adopt non-lethal mitigation strategies, those too can be ideas that spread.
We Need Your Help to Keep Saving Canadian Wildlife
Will you help us to continue to advocate for the Canada Geese in Vernon, BC and beyond – and all wild animals in Canada?
Please help fund our ongoing efforts for these birds and all wildlife species in Canada.
We have not yet heard what the Vernon council’s response will be to the CWS’s refusal to provide a permit to cull. We will continue to advocate for the Canada Geese in Vernon and to offer our assistance to promote peaceful co-existence. Help us to make Vernon, BC the next community to permanently adopt a more progressive relationship with their wild neighbours.
Donate To Be Their Guardians
Donate today to help us be effective guardians of the Canada Geese in Vernon, BC and all Canadian wildlife.
We’ve all seen how faithfully Canada Geese parents guard their young – both parents keeping watch on their goslings as they forage, one mate leading the way, the other guarding from behind. We can be their guardians too.
Help us to protect wild families by donating to this campaign with your one-time donation, or become a monthly donor to keep us strong all through the year.
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