Brash ze­ro­ing in ON Canada geese

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE -

Rav­en­ous Canada geese ex­cret­ing tonnes of waste into Pau­ata­hanui In­let are in the sights of for­mer Porirua mayor Jenny Brash who is or­gan­is­ing a cull of the birds next Jan­uary.

Ms Brash plans to cap­ture about 70 birds while they are moult­ing at Lane’s Flat. The net­ted birds would be re­moved and likely gassed or dis­posed in an­other hu­mane way, she said.

The plan had been ap­proved by Lane’s Flat own­ers, the New Zealand Trans­port Agency, she said.

Canada geese are a pest so can be hunted at any time with­out a game li­cence.

In the 1990s, Ms Brash worked in pest erad­i­ca­tion for the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and led a con­tro­ver­sial cull of Kaimanawa horses.

It didn’t pay to be sen­ti­men­tal about pest species, she said.

‘‘No­body wants to kill birds but work­ing in DOC – I was in charge of an­i­mal con­trol – you get quite hard­ened to killing th­ese pests.’’

Re­plant­ing the in­let shore­line with na­tives was point­less while the geese ate the seedlings, she said.

Canada geese had been breed­ing at the in­let for three years and fed on na­tive har­bour­side plants and sur­round­ing pas­ture, said a re­port pre­pared by Robin Ch­ester­field, head of the in­let’s For­est & Bird group.

The geese ‘‘de­scend in droves on the re­serve each day. The pond shore­line na­tive veg­e­ta­tion is dam­aged and the pond wa­ter and tracks re­ceived a large amount of drop­pings,’’ Mr Ch­ester­field said.

Each bird can do up to a kilo of drop­pings a day, which fouls water­ways and be­comes a health haz­ard on land.

Ad­dling eggs, killing goslings and shoot­ing at birds had been tried with­out suc­cess by For­est & Bird mem­bers, Mr Ch­ester­field said.

‘‘ Co- or­di­na­tion [ with] landown­ers [ and] recre­ational shoot­ers and culling by net­ting dur­ing the moult could sub­stan­tially con­trol the num­bers be­fore they are out of con­trol as at Lake Wairarapa,’’ he said.

Ms Brash agreed geese num­bers were poised to ex­plode.

‘‘Give them an­other cou­ple of years and they’re go­ing to be re­ally dev­as­tat­ing,’’ she said.

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