Should we protect or eat Canada Geese?


In the United States, the Canada goose is protected under the Migratory Birds Act. The city of Denver has been approved by the federal government and the state to cut up to 2,200 of these birds throughout Colorado.

Meat is given to families in need, and is safe for human consumption.

Suzanne Bond, United States Department of Agriculture

A difficult co-habitation

In Vancouver, the Parks Commission estimates that there are approximately 2,500 geese in the city's many parks.

The municipality is an ideal living space because hunting is prohibited and very few predators are found there. However, some challenges arise such as road traffic through geese.

Wildlife venturing on the road can be a danger to userssays Sergeant Jason Robillard, spokesperson for the Vancouver Police. He says the large population of geese is not a major road safety issue, in addition to the slowdowns.

Problematic overcrowding

US Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Suzanne Bond cites aerial collisions, congestion in public spaces and disease risks as problems requiring control measures.

Two geese in a parking lot.

Geese can be seen in urban areas across Canada.

Photo: CBC / Radio-Canada / Kirk Fraser

For Jacques Sirois, ornithologist and representative of the Victoria Harbor Bird Sanctuary, geese have become resident, no longer migratory, and they became invasive.

This is a phenomenal increase in the number of geese in the area, and it has become a problem, an invasion.

Jacques Sirois, ornithologist and representative of the Victoria Harbor Bird Sanctuary

Although he believes that Canada geese are birds spectacular who have a extremely interesting storyTed Cheskey, naturalistic director for Nature Canada, recognizes that managing their growing numbers is a challenge.

They can be a source of conflict and problems in municipalities where adults do not have real predators.

Ted Cheskey, naturalist and bird conservation specialist

Federal responsibility

The Vancouver Parks Commission, responsible for managing geese on its territory, rejects the idea that the city could institute an initiative like that of the city of Denver because of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994

The Parks Commission must respect its rules and standards, "says one of its members.

Stuart Mackinnon, Commissioner of Vancouver Parks

In Canada, geese are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act.

Photo: iStockphoto

Ted Cheskey suggests that British Columbians enter into a dialogue with the citizens of Colorado; hope we can all learn from the Denver experience he said.

In collaboration with Alexandre Milette-Gagnon

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