Animal Aid

Windermere Geese: A Humane Solution Offered

Posted 20 March 2012

Wildlife experts have today submitted a proposal to the Lake District National Park Authority, and to its partners on the Geese Management Group, offering a humane alternative to the mass cull of Canada geese that is due to take place in the coming weeks.

Clive Hartley – a goose expert who has conducted monthly counts of Canada geese at Windermere in recent years – and John Bryant from Humane Urban Wildlife Deterrence have together produced a document entitled Geese Management Plan for Windermere: A Proposal. Dr Roy Armstrong of the University of Cumbria, another goose expert, who sits on the Bird Strike Committee, acted as a consultant and has agreed its content.

The thoroughly-researched document recommends a 12-month moratorium. This is to allow further research to be carried out, and also for a package of humane measures to be devised and implemented. Egg oiling has already had a beneficial effect on geese numbers at Windermere, with the population of resident Canada geese stabilising over the last two years. The document’s authors argue that, with a holistic approach, much more could be achieved with regards to both the resident and migratory element of the population. The University of Cumbria’s Centre for Wildlife Conservation has expressed an interest in contributing to this humane scheme.

The proposal comes just one day after the RSPCA issued a statement saying: ‘We requested a meeting with the Windermere Geese Management Group to discuss our concerns and we're deeply disappointed that they have rejected our request. There are alternative solutions that don't involve the killing of vast numbers of birds and our specialist wildlife experts are prepared to work with them on this, but this offer has not been taken up.’

Says Animal Aid’s Head of Campaigns, Kate Fowler:

‘The Lake District National Park Authority now has its pick of experts, and there is no doubt that a humane solution can be found. John Bryant has worked in humane deterrence for decades, and never had to resort to killing a single bird or animal. Dr Roy Armstrong has successfully reduced the number of geese at Belfast Airport, again without causing a single death. And now the RSPCA has also offered up its own experts. If the Lake District National Park Authority chooses to ignore all the help, advice and expertise available to it and persists with its plan to shoot the birds on their nests, we can only conclude that it is the killing that interests them, not the reduction in bird numbers.’

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