Foster City officials are facing severe backlash after approving a plan to kill geese that have overrun the city's parks and lagoon. Officials believe around 380 geese are causing sanitary issues in the Peninsula city, with the worst area appearing to be Marlin Park. The population has been steadily growing, with about 180 geese counted in 2020. The main problem is the goose droppings contaminating waterways with elevated amounts of bacteria, which affects other birds sharing the water. The goose droppings are also considered a public nuisance to humans and pets.
Foster City approved a plan last week to kill at least 100 geese while also using a variety of non-lethal alternatives to drive them away or limit their reproduction. Local activists are upset at the decision, especially because of the method proposed to carry out the deadly force. According to the SF Chronicle, “a private company would use ‘spinal dislocation’ as a method to cull the geese. This method includes pulling the neck to sever the spine.”
At a city council meeting this week, the animal rights group In Defense of Animals issued a symbolic ‘gander slander’ citation to city leaders, claiming that the lethal method won’t control the population. “Foster City’s decision to break the necks of up to 100 geese is despicable, and it won’t work. New geese will be attracted to plentiful resources in the area, and the killing cycle will start all over again. Nonlethal goose stewardship practices are available now, but the Council of Foster City chose to kill innocent animals instead,” the group said in a statement obtained by the Mercury News.
The Chronicle reports that Foster City has already tried to get rid of the geese through “dog hazing, strobe lights, egg addling, fence barriers, and goose deterrents.” This follows on some similar humane methods for handling geese that are being undertaken in Santa Clara, as Hoodline earlier reported.
Officials now plan on exploring other non-lethal possibilities and landscape modifications while they get the permits needed to use lethal methods from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Many residents of the city are hoping that lethal techniques will be avoided. "They have to control that in a different way, not by killing the geese. They are as much part of the environment and earth as we are. I'm very angry about this decision," Foster City resident Kallol Das told ABC 7.
There’s no word yet when this would all start. Foster City still must find a contractor to carry out the depredation plan for the geese. Once they find a contractor, they must be approved by the City Council for the plan to move forward.