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238 geese euthanized in Mill Creek Park


Published: Fri, June 27, 2014 @ 12:09 a.m.

ODNR official: Measure approved as last resort

By Peter H. Milliken

milliken@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Two-hundred and thirty-eight geese and goslings were herded into a chamber and euthanized with carbon dioxide Thursday morning at Mill Creek Park’s Lake Glacier, Lily Pond and Newport Wetlands, a U.S. Department of Agriculture official said.

The final tally came from John Paul Seman, the USDA’s Poland-based assistant district supervisor, who said the carcasses will be dumped in a landfill.

The Mill Creek Park roundup was conducted by the USDA under an Ohio Department of Natural Resources permit.

“They got more today than what I originally expected,” which was about 75, said Laura Graber, the Akron-based ODNR wildlife research technician who issued the roundup and euthanasia permit.

Such permits for roundups for purposes of euthanasia are rare and issued as a last resort after other strategies — such as noisemakers, decoy-predator installation and making eggs nonviable — have been insufficient to solve the overpopulation nuisance problem, she said.

Mill Creek MetroParks will continue to use the other strategies, Graber said.

Within the past 12 months, Graber has issued seven roundup and euthanasia permits in the 19-county area she serves, she said.

“Because of the number of geese and the people feeding them, they’re destroying some of the habitat” through overgrazing and defecation, Graber said.

A kayaker herded the geese and goslings ashore, where they were corralled with hand-held fences and euthanized Thursday, said Samantha Villella, MetroParks community engagement director.

Although the park district announced road closings only in the Lily Pond and Lake Glacier areas, West Newport Drive was barricaded at Sheban Drive for the roundup in the Newport Wetlands.

“It’s unfortunate that it has come to this point,” Dennis Miller, MetroParks executive director, said in a news release.

Thursday’s roundup “should give us more success for nonlethal management in the future,” he added.

Because of possible heavy metals and other contamination, park officials decided not to donate the meat from the euthanized wild geese, the park news release said.

The news release said park officials have received complaints about excessive amounts of droppings from concentrations of geese and about the birds’ aggressive behavior.

The droppings contain E. coli and other potential disease-causing pathogens, the park said, adding that ODNR doesn’t authorize park officials to relocate the geese.

“The month of June is the only time we permit roundups,” Graber said.

She noted that this is the time when the birds are easiest to catch because goslings aren’t sufficiently developed to fly and adult birds also can’t fly because they are molting. By about mid-July, all geese and goslings should be able to fly, she added.

Park officials were fielding numerous telephone calls Thursday, with callers expressing both pro- and anti-roundup sentiments, Villella said.

Villella said she did not know why park officials did not conduct a public hearing on wildlife management options before Thursday’s roundup.

The next meeting of the park commissioners will be at 6 p.m. July 14 at Fellows Riverside Gardens.

The park news release said the public can help reduce contamination, aggression and overpopulation of geese by not feeding them.

“The food normally given is not appropriate for them,” the release said.


Comments

1ytownsteelman(631 comments)posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago

They didn't tell the public because a bunch of bleeding hearts would go out there and disrupt the roundup. Now that the excess population has been reduced other measures can be taken to manage them.

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2dmacker(287 comments)posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago

It's a good thing ODNR isn't handling immigration.

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3Tjay(8 comments)posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago

I usually fall a bit more to the bleeding heart side of things. But I have no patience with people who are determined to be thoughtless, selfish idiots.

Signs that read "Please don't feed the animals" (along with an explanation as to why you shouldn't) have been prominently posted at the Lily Pond for years. People blithely ignore them; little Tiffany's glee at seeing a bunch of ducks or geese swarm after the bread she tosses is much more important to her parents than the animals' well-being.

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4Harley_Guy(117 comments)posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago

@JS - if you would have read the entire article you would have saw "because of possible heavy metals and other contamination, park officials decided not to donate the meat from the euthanized wild geese".

These geese have lost their migratory instinct mostly due to people feeding them all the time. Migratory geese eat a variety of different grasses and most of the grass they eat has not been heavily fertilized; the geese at the park rely on whatever people feed them and grass that has been fertilized, making their meat a potential hazard.

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5HSG(132 comments)posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Slaughtering these animals is a total over reaction to the problem.

This behavior on behalf of the park board and odnr is atrocious.

The first poster was EXAcCTLY right, extreme right no doubt. People might have shown up who would've demanded alternative strategies to this form of wildlife 'management.'

A management strategy which focuses on the slaughter of GOSLINGS in particular is short-sighted and stupid.

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6michael1757(279 comments)posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Why couldn't they be re-located to another area? They had the vehicles to kill them,why didn't they just truck them somewhere else,& let them go? There's plenty of open land out there.Yet,they trucked them to to a landfill.

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7walter_sobchak(1922 comments)posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago

harley
JS is correct as the Canada goose is mainly a herbivore. The heavy metal contamination makes no sense, however, since toxicity makes its way up the food chain. SInce the geese mainly eat grass and grains, even with pesticides and fertilizer, the chance of contamination is remote. The more likely reason for not allowing them for food use would be allowing the people into the cull area and getting the carcasses distributed. With the hot weather, these birds would need to be gutted ASAP. Can you imagine the uproar if people starting gutting them on the shoreline and letting the entrails be strewn all over? I mean, its bad enough having to dodge turds; what about intestines? Now, let's suppose they do get the bird home, prepare it and then someone becomes ill. Not worth the risk.

Kudos times 238 go out to ODNR and Mill Creek Park staff for an obvious job well done. For the bleeding heart animal wackos, let's see how long it takes the park to be repopulated with the same quantity of geese. As long as they are fed whole loaves of bread, they will be back.

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8JoeFromHubbard(1069 comments)posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Speaking of bleeding hearts, I'm surprised that some environmentalist wacko isn't complaining about the use of carbon dioxide gas.

That's one of Obama's pet greenhouse gases ?

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9dmacker(287 comments)posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Typical government response.
If the criminal misuse of guns is the problem ban the guns.
If people illegally feeding the geese is a problem ban the geese.

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10jn_gt(1 comment)posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago

I agree 100 percent with JS about the relocation of the geese. They didn't have to be killed. I'm sure there could have been a few places they could have taken them without people complaining about their feces. They're not potty trained so yes, they s*** on the ground, but i guess people don't understand that concept. But hey, why go through the trouble of relocating them when they can just gas them and get rid of the problem, right? Stupid. And killing goslings? Come on. They were just born recently and didn't even get to live their life because of cruel people. If the geese were aggressive that's probably because they had goslings so its called being protective. So how do you prevent that? DON'T TRY TO TOUCH THE GEESE. I enjoyed going to the park and looking at the geese but i don't feed them or try to touch them. And anyone with a brain in their head would know you don't feed wild animals so i blame all the people who would feed them bread and God knows what else for bringing too many geese to the area and causing this. Call me a bleeding heart and an environmentalist wacko, whatever you want...at least I care about the wildlife we have in this area, unlike most people.

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11JoeFromHubbard(1069 comments)posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Talking about government waste, imagine the outrageous cost to relocate these birds.

The culling process used was about the lowest cost possible that wouldn't involve a lot shotgun fire and revolt from the weak of heart.

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12AmericaTheJoke(1 comment)posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Why not round up and coral all the nasty people who just dispose of there trash every where and anywhere they feel like?? They expect others to clean up after them as the geese leave messes and are gassed. They trusted that boater who lead babies to be slaughtered. I am an animal lover and am saddened they felt telling us how and how many was so important to know. Making the decision to kill them for being messy and a nuisance. ..have you seen our country with chicken bones, McDonald's wrappers and boxes and dirty diapers littering parking lots and roads in our country..try seeing a clean parking lot on the first week of the month and tell me much different than the park??? Please stop feeding the geese and ducks if that causes the slaughter. Fine litters too...cops don't do much else..not getting speeders in neighborhoods.

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13outoftownbutstillaround(16 comments)posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Mill Creek Park is the greatest metro park in the cosmos, but it is not a petting zoo so please stop feeding the wildlife. I urge anyone disgusted by this sad chain of events to please be brave and politely speak up if you see someone feeding wildlife. Go down to the Lilly Pond, Lakes Glacier and Newport and inform people that their 10 minute jaunt into nature (real "park people" would never feed wildlife) is costing these animals their lives.

Mill Creek Park forever!

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14NilesOhio(739 comments)posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago

They should stop the guy who drives his car up, honks his horn, then empties two large bags of feed for the geese. He probably created this problem single-handed.

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15DACOUNTRYBOY(239 comments)posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago

We have geese at the Tionesta Reservoir and the Kinzu Reservoir. Those 238 geese sent to the landfill could have been given a home here. Why waste the wildlife?

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16palmer16121(116 comments)posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Okay, let's be realistic here. Mill Creek Metro Parks did attempt to use the non-lethal methods, only to be voided by people who just won't read the signs forbidding the feeding of the geese and the ducks. In fact in my apartment complex, it's against the lease to feed the geese and ducks, and it would be grounds for eviction if caught. Secondly, the ONDR had to take this extraordinary measure as a last resort, and had to do so quickly. Secondly, trying to re-home the geese who were used to humans feeding them would be beyond cruel, unusual, and inhumane. Think about it, there's a reason why we humans should never feed wildlife, and need to leave them alone, so they won't have to meet the same fates.

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17DACOUNTRYBOY(239 comments)posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Okay, let's be realistic here. GEESE EAT GRASS! Rehoming them poses no food issues. Not the brightest bulbs in the room decided to kill them and send them to a landfill.

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18kurtw(876 comments)posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I love watching geese flying away in V-formation. I love watching them from a distance, studying their behavior with binoculars. I've Never fed geese- or any other bird- bread (especially flabby Wonder Bread- I wouldn't eat that garbage myself) or anything else in my entire life and I wouldn't think of doing so. It's the self-indulgent, stupid people who feed them that created the problem, changing magnificent wild animals into "rats with feathers" and Poop Machines. Walt makes an excellent point in his post- the logistics of slaughtering and safely preparing that many animals in hot weather would be horrendous- and what happens if somebody sickened and died- is the Park District immune from lawsuits? Better to euthanize and bury them.

Maybe the problem would be avoided if the Park police did a better job of enforcing the "no feed" regulations. Issue a few citations and maybe the Morons would start behaving responsibly. I doubt it though.

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19jchanse(9 comments)posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago

surely there was another solution. when did geese stop being food?

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20handymandave(518 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

238? That's a good start.

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