Humane, Non-Lethal Population Control Alternatives
IDA vigorously advocates for humane, non-lethal population control programs rather than USDA’s cruel and ineffective extermination regime that kills many thousands of Canada geese each year. And, paradoxically, the killing doesn’t solve the issue of conflicts with humans, since other Canada geese quickly re-colonize the newly vacant territory.
* Landscape Design – Canada geese prefer specific habitat features, especially where molting of flight feathers and nesting is concerned. In areas where conflict between humans and geese is high, modifying and maintaining the landscape to reduce the appeal of a site to Canada geese is fundamental to reducing potential clashes.
* Birth Control using OvoControl-G – The USDA, Wildlife Services National Wildlife Research Center (WSNWRC) and Innolytics, LLC [Link to Innolytics http://ovocontrol.com/} developed OvoControl-G, an oral contraception specifically for Canada geese. OvoControl-G is administered in bread-like bait and is a safe and environmentally friendly product that is fed to geese by hand or offered at bait stations prior to and during nesting season, which spans 10 weeks each year. OvoControl-G does not kill the geese—it simply prevents them from developing and laying viable eggs. Geese fed OvoControl-G lay fewer eggs, and the ones they do lay are non-viable and do not hatch.
OvoControl-G is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA – REG# 80224-5) and is available for use by city and federal government agencies, golf courses, and “pest” control companies.
The USDA WSNWRC has spent a great deal of money and resources on the development and refinement of OvoControl-G for Canada geese, and despite the product being readily available at Innolytics, the agency continues to insist on brutal lethal control measures, that cause great suffering in their animal victims, and are also not working. Because of the agency’s firm grip on ‘game’ animals such as deer and geese, and its unwillingness to change course towards humane and effective solutions, the product may be retired in 2013. Click here to find an overview of case studies in which a different product – OvoControl-P for pigeons has been applied [Link], and click here to see a factsheet [link].
* Egg Addling – Eggs may be coated with vegetable oil, thereby depriving the embryo of oxygen and killing it. Addling requires involvement of multiple people to locate and monitor Canada goose nests. The breeding pair must be warded off while someone else coats the eggs with vegetable oil. This method has many disadvantages and is inhumane if done incorrectly. It should be used only as a last resort to killing.
* Border Collies – Trained dogs help to discourage Canada geese from molting and nesting at a target location. When geese attempt to land, the dog chases them away. The dogs are used during key periods each year to prevent reproduction of geese at a designated site.
Killing is Never the Solution
The killing of Canada geese is widely recognized as an unpopular, inhumane, and grossly ineffective population control strategy for the management of resident Canada geese flocks. The physical removal of Canada geese from their habitat results in repeated colonization by more geese, a process that begins almost immediately as other geese flying overhead are drawn to the attractive and uninhabited territory below.
Canada geese and humans can co-exist peacefully in these urban and suburban environments. The implementation of humane, non-lethal population control programs is an inspired and necessary means to that end.