Some geese in Montgomery County will soon be going from the park to the dinner plate. The county says too many of the birds are posing a health hazard in Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rock Creek regional parks. The plan is to round up about 300 geese, euthanize them, and donate the processed meat to the Maryland Food Bank.
Montgomery County Parks explains the plan on their website:(http://www.montgomeryparks.org/PPSD/Natural_Resources_Stewardship/Living_with_wildlife/geese/Geese_index.shtm#management)
The County says this plan is a last resort after options like harassment, habitat manipulation, fencing, egg-oiling and repelling devices, have been unsuccessful.
Goose droppings in the park are the major concern with officials reporting that "substances derived from goose droppings can contain coliform bacteria as well as high levels of nitrogen. This contributes to impaired and potentially hazardous water quality."
The Humane Society of the U.S. has come out against the plan, and some park-goers at MLK Regional agree.
"I really don't like geese, but I think there could be other steps they could take," said Cami Blaha. "Maybe move them to another location that's farther away from people."
"We really like to see them," said Lydia Kahinda. "We really love to see the families. I'm from Kenya, and we have so many animals walking with their families, and that's a good thing to see."
But others said the geese are out of control. One couple with a young son said they won't even let the boy out of his stroller because of the geese droppings.
"They've taken over the park," said Michael Sandstrom. "It's no longer enjoyable. The bacteria is impossible. I don't want him to run around with all the fecal matter on the ground, it's just not sanitary.
The geese also don't have much fear of people or vehicles, often blocking pathways and roads.
The county will start the process in early July. Officials said the geese will be killed in a gas chamber.
"We understand the concerns. We didn't take this lightly," said David Petersen, a natural resources specialist with Montgomery County Parks. "We've tried a lot of nonlethal methods that haven't been sufficient."
Petersen urged people to stop feeding geese, as it leads to overcrowding and making the animals people-dependent.