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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Alberta Makes World News with 1600 Dead Ducks, New York to Cull 170,000 Birds Goes Unnoticed.

New York State is thinking of culling 170,000 Canada Geese from the estimated state goose population of 250,000.    News reports say this is "five times the amount that most people would find socially acceptable."

This is apparently a "one-of-a-kind plan" according to media reports and part of a large Canada Goose cull of about 500,000 birds in 17 Atlantic states.  It is alleged that some state plans "do not include all the scientific background."  The New York plan is to capture the geese, crate them, transport them to a "secure location" to be euthanized and buried.

Critics are saying it is not clear that there are really five times as many Canada gees as there should be and calling the plan "a little extreme."  DUH!

The motivation for this cull seems to be a result of the Hudson river crash landing in January 2009 when geese flew into the engines of the jet.  This is hardly a fool proof solution since another bird killing spree near New York La Guardia is reported to have reduced birds hitting airplanes by 80%.  Hardly a reassuring statistic that says air traffic is safe enough die to bird kills.  We don't know how big the La Guardia bird problem was, how big the cull was and what metrics were used to determine success.  Not very helpful really

I sure do not condone the proven negligence of Syncrude in the loss of 1600 ducks in their tailings ponds two years ago but it pales in comparison to what New York state is proposing to do intentionally, not negligently.
We know from our research going back to 2005 that one of the dominant and consistent values preferences for Albertans in resource development is wildlife habitat protection.

Resource development is not the same as urban airline safety but the respect for biodiversity and for our species becoming more integrated in the natural balance and flow of nature is a major human value that is becoming a  more important public policy issue.  As a result New York should be looking for a more humane, integrated and adaptive approach to bird control around airports rather that euthanizing 170,000 birds of inconvenience.