Everywhere in Bend I meet people who sincerely believe that the only way to resolve the goose poop problem is through periodic exterminations.Then I explain that non-lethal methods are more effective, sustainable, and cost effective and are currently being used successfully in dozens of locations in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. At that point, the conversational tone starts to shift.
The "resident" Canada geese of Bend now face another impending extermination (Bend
Bulletin, Oct. 6, 2010, 'Park officials discuss killing more geese') only four months after uninformed agents of the U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services rounded up and gassed 109 geese in Drake Park. This time, overhead cannon nets will be used.
Nancy Schnell of St. Louis GeesePeace recently wrote, "We knew that an alternative would have to be offered to provide people with a choice. Usually, we have found that most people will make a kind choice when given the option. Unfortunately, often people are convinced that there are no humane options that are successful, so they opt for killing." We have invited Nancy to travel to Bend to speak to the public and the press.
In April, David Feld, national director of GeesePeace, held workshops in Bend at the behest of the Park District. (At that time the District was pursuing a science-based, increasingly effective, non-lethal program based on nest and egg treatment and dog hazing.) Mr. Feld praised the dedication of the park employees involved in this work, and offered only a few recommendations for further improvement
More and more, there is a feeling that the Bend Park District should provide a public forum for a full discussion of the current direction of its goose management program and the alternatives that exist. We have requested agenda time at the Dec. 7 regularly scheduled meeting of the Parks Board. It will be held at 7 P.M. at the Park headquarters on 799 SW Columbia. Everyone having an opinion or questions on this issue (and everyone does!) should plan to attend. We hope to have a polite, respectful discussion.
My question on Dec. 7 will be: Why, with an already effective non-lethal program in place, did you suddenly reverse course and not give Mr. Feld's recommendations enough time to be properly implemented?
- Foster Fell, Bend