For Immediate Release
Contact: Edita Birnkrant, NY Director, Friends of Animals, 917.940.2725, Email
When: Monday 9 Aug. 6-8pm
Where: Chez Mayor Bloomberg: 17 East 79th Street, between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue

New York City-City officials have devised a slaughter contract with the USDA’s Wildlife Service Division to target thousands of Canada geese inhabiting New York City parks and waterways. Friends of Animals and bird-respecting New Yorkers put the responsibility at Mayor Bloomberg’s door, where they will demand the plan itself be killed.

Edita Birnkrant, NY Director of Friends of Animals, said, “New Yorkers resist the claim on our tax dollars for a wildlife massacre. New York should not put a quota on geese.”

The 400 geese and goslings of the Prospect Park were annihilated in July, when the USDA’s Wildlife Service division, funded by New York City and the Port Authority, trapped, netted, crated and gassed the geese during their molting (flightless) period. “It’s geese or human beings,” was the bizarre explanation from Mayor Bloomberg.

Priscilla Feral, President of Friends of Animals, called this part of an overall pattern that must stop.

“Birds nest, and birds move on. Are guns to be pointed skyward when Tundra swans return to Pennsylvania in November, or when Mute swans fly along the Atlantic Coast?” Feral asked. “Stop this killing, and let birds be birds.”

The USDA plan to kill 170,000 geese throughout New York State was revealed recently in a report prepared by several city, state and federal agencies. The quota for New York City should be 4,000, the official report states.

Officials point to the US Airways plane that landed in the Hudson in January 2009, after two migratory Canada geese flew into its engine. But the airport situation demands habitat modification policies (in addition to radar technology to spot the birds and the use of noise equipment to warn them off) — not clearing planet’s atmosphere of every feathered being.

Last summer, when at least 2,000 geese were gassed in areas surrounding the airports, Friends of Animals objected. The group publishes the Canada Goose Habitat Modification Manual, written by ornithologist Donald S. Heintzelman, containing practical examples of long-term landscaping policies to deter geese from urban and suburban settings where they are perceived as problematic. The guide was presented to Mayor Bloomberg’s staff and other city agencies.

Short of making the birds completely extinct, killing would only mean birds repopulate — leading to an endless cycle of urban violence. Mayor Bloomberg refused to listen last year, and the slaughter continues this year.

Christina Kobland, president of Native Return, LLC and a consultant for the Philadelphia Division of Aviation, said, “Native Return’s approach to managing wildlife for airports is to plant habitat that species like geese or deer do not like, so they chose to locate elsewhere. I favor our proactive, compassionate methods, which also happen to be environmentally beneficial, much less costly and educational to the public.”

As for parks, geese flock to them because manicured landscapes provide clear sight lines, and ponds are naturally attractive. Tall, native grasses, meadowlands, wildflowers, shrubs and trees can — if necessary — deter geese from parks, commercial tracts, airports and waterfronts, and can increase biodiversity, which benefits all species, including humans.

The staff and supporters of Friends of Animals strongly oppose all policies advocating birth control of geese or addling of goose eggs — destroying eggs by shaking, piercing or coating the eggs with oil, often scaring them away from their nests by using hazing dogs — considering these approaches traumatic and invasive.

“Geese and other urban wildlife don’t need to be managed,” said Birnkrant. “The impulse to obliterate every species that crosses our path surely does, and decision-makers approving such wrong-headed polices must be held accountable, starting with Mayor Bloomberg.”

What You Can Do

Contact Mayor Bloomberg and make clear your opposition to the slaughter of geese in New York City.

· If you live in New York City, you can call the Mayor’s office at 311.
· Outside of New York City, call 212-NEW-YORK.
· Fax a message: 212-788-8123.
· Send an email to the Mayor.