Lydney Town Council in Gloucestershire says the number of Canada Geese at Lydney Lake is getting out of hand and have voted to cull some of them. Their decision has been met with opposition from within the council, with one member urging townspeople to sign a petition to stop the proposed cull.
Lydney Recreation Trust, of which Lydney Town Council is the sole trustee, says something needs to be done as there are so many Canada Geese that they are fighting amongst themselves and driving away swans, mallard ducks and other species, reports Gloucestershire Live.
“Because visitors continue to feed the geese, the geese have come to expect to be fed and they become aggressive when food is withheld,” said a statement released by the Trust.
“We know of several incidents where mothers have reported alarm and distress to their infant children and to themselves when they try to protect their children.”
The charity was set up to run the sports facilities next to the lake which are used by the town’s football, rugby, cricket, tennis and angling clubs.
Critics accuse them of putting sport before animal welfare, but members say they have a legal duty to ensure the sports facilities are kept up to scratch.
“For well over a year, complaints have been received about the increasing number of Canada Geese at the lake,” said the statement.
“Matches have been postponed because of the amount of faeces left on our sports fields – visiting teams have refused to play after inspecting the pitch.
“Because the Trust was set up to deliver sports pitches as its charitable objectives, our primary concern has to be the continued provision of those pitches in a fit and safe condition to play on.”
The statement says goose droppings are also poisoning the lake by increasing Nitrogen levels and fish numbers have decreased noticeably. Other wildlife species are also being driven out.
“Reducing the number of Canada Geese is an action we take only reluctantly after more than a year of considering other options.,” said the statement.
Critics say the Trust is refusing to implement other suggestions by environmental groups, an accusation denied by members of the trust.
Fencing off the sports field would mean the geese could still fly over the pitches and “picking up the faeces would be an unending task like ‘painting the Forth Bridge’ they say.
Another suggestion to allow dogs to run freely to frighten the geese would just create different problems and they claim a limited cull is the only option left.
The council has not put any figures forward about the numbers of geese at the lake, nor details of the proposed cull.
But councilor Louise Penny, one of three who voted against the cull, is urging townspeople to sign a petition to save the geese and wants a volunteer group set up to carry out work needed that she believes will control the population naturally.
She has put a statement out saying she has spoken to a volunteer at Slimbridge and sent fellow councilors scientific papers explaining how to help the geese and deal with their habitat.
She believes most people enjoy seeing the geese at the lake.
“If you cull geese, more will come, as the area is a perfect habitat for geese,” she said. “I am completely against the cull of these geese, no matter how many.
“There is no reason to kill geese just because it is an inconvenience to people. Humans and animals need to learn to live alongside each other.
“Because the geese are being fed by humans this causes them occasionally to respond to humans aggressively at times and when protecting their young.
“By feeding the geese bread, the public are making the problem with the geese worse, this is because it’s not good for them to eat and affects their bodily functions, which is another reason why we have more poo.”