MEDIA RELEASE: Surfside Beach Geese Safe Following Outcry
SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (July 17, 2023) — In Defense of Animals’ National Goose Protection Coalition is celebrating a win for a group of Canada geese at the Surfside Beach Club, where they were scheduled to be rounded up and killed by the government.
The HOA at the Surfside Beach Club had scheduled a roundup to kill all geese and their young — despite not giving residents who want to peacefully coexist a chance to stop this from happening. Ironically, the geese are mentioned as an amenity in a review enticing families to purchase property there. Most residents didn’t realize their HOA had contracted with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to cut the throats of baby geese.
Local goose whisperer Maria Pesce tells it like it is. “Developers construct retention ponds and clear the vegetation so geese can walk straight into private yards and roads. Developers bait geese with ideal habitat and then homeowners associations vote to kill them. It’s a system that’s sure to fail. Developers should leave the natural vegetation as a barrier to keep geese from wandering away from the lake. Homeowners Associations can stop the cruelty by adding riparian buffers.”
Nearly 11,000 people signed In Defense of Animals’ letter urging Surfside Beach Club HOA to stop working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to kill geese and instead implement non-lethal alternatives that foster coexistence with wildlife.
Surfside Beach Club geese were spared this year due to public outcry and daily patrolling by goose advocates, but other geese in the region were not as fortunate. Wildlife Services generally rounds up and kills geese near dawn to hide this cruel practice from concerned onlookers.
According to anonymous sources in other communities, Deerfield Plantation, South Bay Lakes, Southwood and The Lakes HOAs all rounded up and killed geese. Freedom of Information Act requests are pending for these and other locations.
The National Goose Protection Coalition has issued Gander Slander citations for goose cruelty to the offending HOAs. The coalition issues citations to decision-makers who opt for lethal measures when long-term, effective, nonlethal stewardship practices are readily available.
Not only is killing geese incredibly inhumane — especially at a time when they’re molting and can’t fly — it’s also futile because it will need to be repeated annually, perpetuating a cycle of cruelty and Wildlife Services’ wanton killing of wildlife, largely at taxpayer expense. There are a number of non-lethal strategies recommended by the National Goose Protection Coalition that can be implemented to reduce and prevent conflicts, instead of these costly and cruel roundups.
Planting riparian buffers is one of the least expensive, most enduring, and aesthetically appealing management techniques to discourage geese from inhabiting areas along waters edges. Geese usually avoid walking through areas where they can’t see predators through or above vegetation. When vegetation borders a stream or pond, geese will typically feel unsafe and abandon the area. Restoring native grasses, grasslike forbs, shrubs, trees and other vegetation controls erosion, protects the lake from non-point source (NPS) pollutants, slows surface runoff, sequesters carbon, and provides vital habitat for other animals.
“We’re so grateful the Surfside Beach Club geese are safe and that we were able to support a local activist working to protect them,” said Lisa Levinson, Campaigns Director for In Defense of Animals. “It’s a tragedy that hundreds of geese and goslings in the surrounding communities were brutally killed when effective non-lethal measures could have saved their lives. Compassion must be a guiding principle for decisions related to the wellbeing of geese, who are our wild animal neighbors.”
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Photos and video (free to use with credit): https://bit.ly/SurfsideGeese
The National Goose Protection Coalition formed in 2019 to help concerned citizens stop goose cruelty in their communities. The coalition provides resources, education, and advocacy tools for people who want to help geese via nonlethal means of resolving human-geese conflicts such as habitat modification and planting riparian buffers. The coalition aims to stop brutal and cruel goose killings or “roundups” via permits obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, often conducted by its own animal-killing branch called Wildlife Services. www.stopgooseabuse.org
In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in Marin county, California with over 250,000 supporters and a 40-year history of defending animals, the environment, and their guardians, through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, California, and rural Mississippi. www.idausa.org/geese
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