Brash zeroing in ON Canada geese
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.