US & Canada

Denver culls Canada geese to feed 'needy families'

A pair of Canada geese are pictured on a lake

The US city of Denver is culling Canada geese and donating their meat to "needy families" in an effort to tackle a rising population of the birds.

Officials say the birds have destroyed vegetation, created sanitation issues and caused increasing "human-wildlife conflicts" in the Colorado city.

The species is protected under the US Migratory Bird Act, but Denver says the government has permitted the cull.

Critics argue there are more humane ways of reducing population numbers.

An estimated 5,000 Canada geese currently live in Denver, where efforts have been underway for more than 15 years to keep population numbers down. The local park authority says the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is assisting with the latest initiative.

"Geese poop in our parks is one of the biggest complaints we have," Scott Gilmore, executive director of Denver Parks and Recreation, told local television network CBS Denver. "It had gotten to the point where the parks were being almost unenjoyable for a lot of people - that is why we moved forward with this plan."

"They are taking them to a processing facility where they are processed and they are donating them to needy families," he added.

Critics of the initiative argue that there are ways of controlling population numbers without killing the geese. "Geese are a bit of a nuisance but... euthanising them and feeding them to homeless people seems kind of intense," one local resident told Denver7.

Other tactics used by the city in recent years to reduce numbers of Canada geese include spraying corn oil on eggs to prevent the embryo from developing and using a remote-controlled machine called the Goosinator to chase the birds away.

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