Photo: Caspar Huurdeman
The Agency for Nature and Forests aims to achieve a manageable population of a thousand Canadian geese in Flanders, but currently 5,000 of the species still fly around in our wetland areas. The catch has been reopened.
Nature and Forest is clear: the Canada goose is the biggest culprit among the exotic birds. “Due to their grazing behavior they cause damage to agricultural crops, with their feces they pollute bathing waters and sunbathing areas and in winter the animals also compete with the overwintering greylag geese,” says Jeroen Denaeghel. He adds that if no one does anything against the geese, they will cause more than 20 million euros in damage by 2050. So the Agency wants to reduce the alien species to a manageable population of a thousand. After many efforts, Flanders still has about 5,000 of the migratory birds that actually stay here all year round. In 2010 there were three times more.
Stunned and killed
Shaking and piercing eggs or chasing the species alone is not enough to limit the growth of the species. So the Canada goose can now be caught until the end of July. “That has been happening for several years. Always during the moult, when the geese change their plumage and therefore cannot fly. After capture, the animals are treated with CO2 stunned and killed in a painless way. The animals fall asleep and no longer wake up. ” According to the Institute for Nature and Forest Research (INBO), a coordinated catch is an effective and economically profitable contribution to goose management.
Animal Rights will protest on July 6 in Ghent against the moulting of Canadian geese. “It causes a lot of stress, anxiety and pain to the animals and ultimately a lurid death,” says Rowena Vanroy. She advocates peaceful coexistence.