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Vernon puts out feelers for kill-to-scare goose program

The city is seeking expressions of interest for the program to reduce the local goose population
The City of Vernon has issued a request for expressions of interest for a kill-to-scare goose program, which council approved in 2021 and 2022 but had to wait for permits from provincial and federal government. (File photo)

While permits from the federal and provincial governments have’t arrived yet, Vernon is looking to move forward on a kill-to-scare goose management program.

The city has been looking to reduce the local goose population for several years, and sought a goose cull in 2021. When the cull didn’t get federal approval, the city pivoted to a kill-to-scare program, submitting applications for permits in 2021 and 2022.

Kill-to-scare involves killing the dominant goose in a flock to deter other birds from returning to the area.

On Tuesday the city began seeking expressions of interest from contractors for the tracking and removal of geese through a kill-to-scare program. The expression of interest request is being used to determine if a contractor can be found to conduct the program.

The city said the program should be conducted in areas that geese frequent, including Paddlewheel Park, Kin Beach, Lakeshore Park, Marshall Fields and Polson Park.

“Proponents should have all qualifications outlined in the document, be able to articulate and have the ability to execute in a safe manner at the specified parks, and provide education to the public if required,” the city said in its request for expressions of interest.

There are strict federal and provincial permits that must be obtained before the program can begin, according to city communications manager Christy Poirier. As those permits haven’t yet been received, there is currently no timeline on when a kill-to-scare program could begin.

There has been some push-back to the program in the past. When kill-to-scare was first explored in 2021, the Animal Alliance of Canada opposed it, saying the tactic was “unscientific and doomed to fail.”

“The Canadian Wildlife Service says that a kill-to-scare approach will not significantly reduce goose numbers,” the alliance’s director Barry Kent MacKay said at the time. “It’s clear this new proposal from Vernon lacks a basic understanding of goose behaviour and socialization.”

Poirier said the city consulted qualified professionals a few years ago about various goose management techniques, and through those consultations found that a kill-to-scare program would be successful.

Last year, the cost of a kill-to-scare program was estimated at $15,000 — significantly less than a goose cull, which was budgeted at $41,000 in 2021.

The submission deadline for the expression of interest is June 1.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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