Photos of the staging area at the Fountain Avenue landfill. (Source: GooseWatch NYC)

Photos of the staging area at the Fountain Avenue landfill. (Source: GooseWatch NYC)

Another day, another animal in the cross-hairs of the wildlife gestapo.

In the wacky world of wildlife preservation, we’ve seen battles rage over swans and cats in the past few weeks, and now concerns are being revived about the annual plans to round up and euthanize Canada geese.

The latest comes from GooseWatch NYC, an advocacy group that since 2010 has been sounding the alarm on the city’s annual goose culling. They say that members have spotted USDA Wildlife Services agents, which the city and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey contracts to manage the swan population, setting up a staging area at Canarsie’s Fountain Avenue Landfill (which has been folded into the wildlife refuge and is in the process of $20 million ecological restoration). Trucks with the USDA logo were photographed, along with kayaks, crates and corral gates used to round up the birds before carting them off for lethal gassing.

Such culling usually happens around this time every year, as Canada geese go through their molting period, hampering their flying ability and making them easier to capture.

The group is outraged, as they are every year, especially since the area is now part of the wildlife refuge. They also say that, following the 1,000 goose culling over the last two years, there are just a few dozen remaining in Jamaica Bay, suggesting that the agency seeks total annihilation and not just population control.

“It’s now obvious that the USDA intends to kill every last Canada goose they can at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a supposed safe haven for these creatures,” said David Karopkin, GooseWatch NYC’s founder, in a press release. “There is no need to kill these birds. It’s obscene and tragic, and the public has a right to know what our government is doing.”

The annual goose slaughters began in 2009 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The population reduction is being done to reduce collisions with jets at local airports, including JFK airport, located adjacent to the wildlife refuge, although critics say alternate methods, including radar upgrades, could do the trick more efficiently.

GooseWatch is also taking issue with the current mayor, who they say is walking back his campaign promise to seek out more humane ways to manage the population and reduce air strikes.

“Mayor de Blasio committed to put every approach on the table and work with independent experts and animal advocates, but now instead we’re learning that the cruel and ineffective goose removals will continue in NYC this summer, and perhaps for years to come,” said Karopkin.

A petition has been launched to end the lethal culling of geese in New York City. Another group, Friends of Animals, is planning a protest outside of the Port Authority’s headquarters (225 Park Avenue South) on Thursday, June 26, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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  • Not ammused

    Gestapo??? Come on Ned! This comparison is tasteless and ridiculous! Geesetapo would be as bad, but at least make some sense. As is, you are simply saying that the geese are persecuted by the political police.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      It is an orchestrated effort to eradicate a species. And the reasoning for doing this are unacceptable when there are alternative means of dealing with this problem.

      • Not amused

        But I said nothing about the killing, just pointed out the using Gestapo as an example is in bad taste…

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

          I think it is fitting and proper here.

    • sadeyes

      Geesetapo. Clever. I am amused! by the word, I mean. : )

    • kg

      well, since you are a grammar and usage gestapo, perhaps you noticed that the word ‘euthanize’ is totally incorrect. Euthanasia is when you end a life to spare it further suffering. these geese are not suffering. this is cold-blooded killing.

  • positively4thstreet

    “The annual goose slaughters began in 2009 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
    The population reduction is being done to reduce collisions with jets at local airports, including JFK airport, located adjacent to the wildlife refuge,”

    Then it is very odd that JFK AIrport has had more goose strikes in the years they began mass killing geese than they had before. JFK Airport had 3 goose strikes last year, 2013, which is the most they have had since 1995, which was their worst year on record. Other than that it has been 0-2 strikes for as long as I can find birdstrike records for. Not. One. Thing. Has. Changed. despite killing thousands of innocent resident geese. All this killing money should be going towards effective wildlife management.

    And Flight 1549 did run into MIGRATING geese from Labrador, Canada. Anyone who buys this BS that killing flightless birds protects planes would likely be interested in buying that Brooklyn Bridge someone said is for sale.

    JFK Airport May 15, 1991 – June, 2014 Goose strikes as per the FAA Birdstrike Data Base

    2014 – 1 – Jan 18
    2013 – 3 – Nov 24, Oct 8, May 5
    2012 – 1 – May 18
    2011 – 0
    2010 – 2- Oct 24, Oct 2
    2009 – 1 – Dec 14

    2008 – 2 – Feb 14, April 12
    2007 – 2 – Nov 11, May 5
    2006 – 1 – Feb 23
    2005 – 1 – Nov 11
    2004 – 0
    2003 – 0

    2002 – 2 – Oct 29, Aug 19
    2001 – 0
    2000 – 2 – Oct 23, June 1
    1999 – 0
    1998 – 1 – May 28
    1997 – 0

    1996 – 1 – Mar 14
    1995 – 5 – Dec 13, Oct 10, Aug 11, Jun 3,Mar 21
    1994 – 2 – Nov 10, Apr 9
    1993 – 1 – Nov 13
    1992 – 1 – Sep 6
    1991 – 2 – Oct 12, May 15

  • positively4thstreet

    Captain Sullenberger, the hero captain of Flight 1549, says the NY skies are no safer today then they were in January, 2009 when he ran into migrating geese from Labrador, Canada. The USDA WS loves to refer to Flight 1549 as an excuse to kill geese (usually omitting to mention they were migratory) but they aren’t really interested in the pilots opinions about birdstrike management. How how does that work Carol Bannerman??

    Sully’s Rule – As long as AVIAN ATTRACTANTS exist near airports, Sullenberger points out, KILLING BIRDS DOESN’T address the underlying flight-risk problem.

    “For a better understanding of the link between birds and air safety, and
    how pilots can avoid hitting birds, Sullenberger (CAPTAIN OF FLIGHT
    1549) DEFERS TO YOSSI LESHEM, a senior researcher in Tel Aviv
    University’s zoology department. Leshem’s research has helped the Israeli Air Force dramatically reduce bird strikes through NON-LETHAL MEANS.

    Leshem says that if a real-time integrated avian radar strategy had been in
    place at LaGuardia before US Airways Flight 1549 took off, radar
    technicians would likely have recognized the approaching migratory birds
    from at least a dozen miles away. Their readings would have been
    overlaid on the screens of flight controllers, who would then have noted
    the potential for collision even before Sullenberger started his roll.

    “Delaying takeoff by just several minutes or sending him off in a different
    direction,” Leshem says, “WOULD HAVE MEANT Flight 1549 WOULD NOT HAVE HIT THESE GEESE.”

    This is the lesson that can be taken away by officials everywhere who must confront the persistent risk of bird strikes.”

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/10/131108-aircraft-bird-strikes-faa-radar-science/

  • positively4thstreet

    If someone is not against the killing of NYCs geese and this waste of taxpayers money…they must be for it. So where are your arguments supporting the way your tax dollars are being spent here??? Vague, noble sounding, mumbo jumbo about keeping planes safe simply does not stand up to the evidence.

  • positively4thstreet

    Bird strikes plummet at Vancouver airport (the only airport in North America to make the world’s best airports list)

    Officials credit raptor program and covering of water sources to deter ducks

    http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Bird+strikes+plummet+Vancouver+airport/9702302/story.html

    Keeping air travel safe: new recruit added to YVR feathered arsenal (Hercules, a 2 year old bald eagle)

    “Safety is first and paramount for everybody – passengers on the plane,
    the flight crew and also we want to protect the birds as well,” Brett
    Patterson, YVR airside operations director said. “So we developed a
    program here that will keep the feathered birds away from the metalled
    birds.”

    http://globalnews.ca/news/1095912/keeping-air-travel-safe-new-recruit-added-to-yvr-feathered-arsenal/

    I know…it’s hard for the USA to get that killing is not always the most effective solution.

  • wake up already

    this is a sickening travesty that happens all over the country. when will the scales of delusion fall from people’s eyes. this is a shady govt agency that makes up reasons to kill animals for money. it is all about money. time for the citizens to say no. its not only geese…pretty much anything that moves and is not human.

  • BrooklynBus

    What a hypocrite! First the mayor claims he wants to end horse carriages in Central Park because they are inhumane to the horses and at the same time allows the killing of thousands of geese, no less in a “wildlife sanctuary.” Why place a wildlife sanctuary near an airport in the first place? They also wanted a refuse station near La Guardia where seagulls would be attracted. So the solution is to kill them too? Nothing makes sense anymore.

    By the way, I heard that the real reason the mayor wants to discontinue the horse carriages is because developers who donated thousands to deBlasio’s campaign want to develop the land where the stables are now situated. It isn’t even about the animals after all. It’s all about the MONEY! The same reason for the cameras and the killing of the geese. Airlines want to show that precautions are being taken to lessen their liability in lawsuits if a plane crashes due to birds.

    • SquidHugs

      I guess the question should be why put an airport smack in the middle of Park’s jurisdiction? That area has been designated as a natural area since 1938, JFK was built in the early 40′s and started having commercial flights in the mid 40′s. The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge proper was established in 1951, but the whole area was still a huge marsh system without or without the name “wildlife refuge.”

    • Effin Really?

      That is all propaganda by Liam Neeson and the big PR firm brought in the fight the carriage horse ban. I guess because Allie Feldman who runs NYCLASS was in real estate. Although it is right that these stables would be of better use housing people instead of those poor horses.

      • Supporter of Left Handed Rule

        Dear Effing, I don’t know why you call a point of view as “propaganda”, as if that is a bad thing. I like to read your point of view and also Liam Neesom’s p.o.v. It makes us more informed, so long as there is both sides available. Don’t be afraid of ‘advocacy’, which you fear as “propaganda’. P is not a dirty word.

  • SquidHugs

    Supposedly some folks saw geese being rounded up at the Jamaica Bay refuge very early this morning. Haven’t heard more about it though. Wildlife Services sure are sneaky. I’ve been seeing someone in a kayak dabbling around the pond the past few days, I wonder if they were Wildlife Services scoping out the goose situation.

  • Effin’ Really?

    I think the contract that Bloomberg signed runs out June 30 and Di Blasio isn’t renewing it. I do not understand why he is allowing them to do this now. Call his office. Call 311.

  • Alex

    How about gather the Congress, USDA and the rest of those scumbags all together and put them into a gas chamber or something!!!!
    That’d make my day

  • Supporter of Left Handed Rule

    The various comments on this topic are interesting but I haven’t been convinced that killing the Geese makes the airspace near JFK any safer. Those in favor of culling seem to be relying on Junk Science. Keep these posts coming so I can develop an informed opinion. Also, maybe Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer can hold a Sunday press conference on this topic or better yet, co-host the presser with cousin Amy Schumer.

    • fdtutf

      http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2010/AAR1003.pdf

      “The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the ingestion of large birds into each engine, which resulted in an almost total loss of thrust in both engines and the subsequent ditching on the Hudson River.”

      Yeah, getting rid of birds makes the airspace safer.

      • Marion Ambler

        The Smithsonian Feather Analysis Laboratory also says those were MIGRATING geese from Labrador, Canada. So….killing NYCs flightless geese and goslings in the summer does what again?

        The engines of Flight 1549 also did not meet the current 2009 birdstrike standards for an 8 lb bird…they met old standards for a 4 lb bird.

        I would argue if they had been twice as strong and met the 2009 birdstrike standards they would not have been so disabled.

        Flight 1549 was also an Airbus A320….warnings were issues about their engines being prone to double engine stall back in 2004 after a crash in Europe killed 7 people.

        Quote: Warning issued to airlines flying Airbuses
        An emergency safety directive has been issued to airlines using
        twin-engine Airbus A320s after both engines on one stalled over the Mediterranean, just 18 days after an Air New Zealand A320 crashed killing all seven on board.

        http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/tech_ops/read.main/246674/

        Will also point out, the man many believe is THE birdstrike expert in the world says avian radar would likely have prevented Flight 1549 from hitting geese because that flock would have been seen on avian radar. Nice Try.

        “For a better understanding of the link between birds and air safety, and how pilots can avoid hitting birds, Sullenberger defers to Yossi Leshem, a senior researcher in Tel Aviv University’s zoology department. Leshem’s research has helped the Israeli Air Force dramatically reduce bird strikes through non-lethal means.

        Leshem says that if a real-time integrated avian radar
        strategy had been in place at LaGuardia before US Airways Flight 1549 took off, radar technicians would likely have recognized the approaching migratory birds from at least a dozen miles away. Their readings would have been overlaid on the screens of flight controllers, who would then have noted the potential for collision even before Sullenberger started
        his roll.

        “Delaying takeoff by just several minutes or sending him
        off in a different direction,” Leshem says, “would have meant Flight 1549 would not have hit these geese.”

        This is the lesson that can be taken away by officials everywhere who must confront the persistent risk of bird strikes.

        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/10/131108-aircraft-bird-strikes-faa-radar-science/

      • Marion Ambler

        Read my comment below about goose strikes at JFK Aiport…they had more goose strike (3) in 2013 than they’ve had since 1995 which was their worst year with 5 strikes. They had many years of 0 strikes before they began killing and they still have years of 1-2-3 strikes after killing. So come on…this is 2104..the age of science and evidence. Where is you evidence they have done anything????

        You think goose strikes are unique to NYC?? They aren’t. There have been plane goose strikes forever and the only one that managed to disable both their engines in one didn’t even have engines that met current birdstrike standards and killing NYCs resident geese won’t keep you safe from migrants.

        You could have killed every goose in the USA in the summer of 2008 and Flight 1549 would still have hit migrating geese in January, 2009.

        Also…avian radar, birds of prey, border collies, habitat management, and planes are going to have to start creating some better engines because we are NOT going to kill all our urban wildlife to protect an industry. They have to do better.

      • Marion Ambler

        While you are investigating the causes of plane crashes….birds actually aren’t even on the list of top causes of plane crashes. Worst crash in American history occurred when an engine just fell off the plane on take off. Fancy that..the engine just fell off the plane.

        Then you had two planes collide over NYC. Fact is over 700 people have been killed in plane crashes related to JFK Airport alone since the 60s….not one of them was caused by a bird. Not. One.

      • Marion Ambler

        Took care of that…where’s your next bit of wisdom??

        • fdtutf

          Yeah, birds are an insignificant hazard, causing only one in one million (0.0001%) of all plane crashes in NYC. That must be why the NTSB included this recommendation in the report I linked to:

          “Require all 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 139-certificated airports to conduct wildlife hazard assessments (WHA) to proactively assess the likelihood of wildlife strikes, and if the WHA indicates the need for a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan (WHMP), require the airport to implement a WHMP into its airport certification manual. (A-10-75)”

          Because wildlife aren’t a hazard. That’s why.

          • Marion Ambler

            Nobody said there was not the potential…but you certainly cannot produce evidence that killing flightless geese is doing anything for air safety.

            If that was so why did JFK Airport have more goose strikes last year then they have had since 1995????

            All airports have wildlife teams managing wildlife around airports. All airports do not round up geese in city parks and wildlife refuges around airports. That is totally a USDA thingy…because they make a killing doing it.

            You also ignored my other comments..flight 1549 hit migratory geese, engines did not meet current birdstrike standards, engines prone to double engine stall.

            YVR has reduced it’s birdstrike risk with non lethal methods…also the only airport in North America to make the world’s best airports list.

            “Our location on the Fraser River Delta makes managing wildlife very
            challenging and unique. There are so many migratory birds that use the
            area because the Fraser delta is the largest on the Pacific Coast.

            As a
            result, we need a very thoughtful approach to managing wildlife. I am
            proud that our program has such a strong focus on conservation. YVR
            takes conservation seriously and we work hard to manage birds, including
            those that are listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (such as the
            Short-eared Owl and the Barn Swallow).”

            http://www.yvr.ca/en/blog/posts/On_Approach_with_David_Bradbeer_-_Wildlife_Program_Specialist.aspx

            Bird strikes plummet at Vancouver airport
            -
            Officials credit raptor program and covering of water sources to deter ducks
            http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Bird+strikes+plummet+Vancouver+airport/9702302/story.html

            Keeping air travel safe: new recruit added to YVR feathered arsenal (a 2 year old bald eagle)

            http://globalnews.ca/news/1095912/keeping-air-travel-safe-new-recruit-added-to-yvr-feathered-arsenal/

            Fact – you have bird attractants you attract birds and killing a few in the summer does zilch, nothing, nada.

            And if you read the National Geographic article..that is exactly what Captain Sullenberger says…the skies over NYC are no safer today then they were when he hit migrating geese.

          • Marion Ambler

            It is also a blatant conflict of interest for the Port Authority to have the USDA do their wildlife hazard assessments…when their WS gets the lucrative killing contracts.

            Also the woman in charge of the PA wildlife management is a former USDA and BLM employee….born and bred in their money making and killing schemes. Isn’t that a cozy convenient arrangement.

            http://www.linkedin.com/in/laurafrancoeur

    • Marion Ambler

      What more information do you need to understand killing geese in NYC has not made the airspace safer? Goose strikes are up at JFK Airport and other than dead geese they have no stats to show reduced bird strikes or decreased monetary damage to planes.

      Real birdstrike control programs produce tangible results. I’m pretty sure if this was a private business paying for this and seeing no $$$$ results the USDA WS would have their azzes kicked out the door.

      Look at the results ‘Birdstrike Control Program’ achieved in Israel with non-lethal management.

      “Prior to BCP’s involvement with the IAF, average annual damage to IAF aircraft due to birds at the Israeli airbases was roughly US $10.3 million/year.

      Since the implementation of BCP’s wildlife management protocols and guidelines more than 9 years ago, the IAF has only suffered a total of US $82,000 in damage combined for all major airbases that have implemented the program (or roughly US $8,400/year).

      As a result of the resounding success achieved, the IAF has now implemented BCP’s program and protocols at all major airbases
      throughout the entire country.”

      This company has achieved similar results for Hurlburt Field, AFSOC headquarters in Florida.

      http://www.birdstrikecontrol.com/results.html

      The only results the USDA WS can produce is Carol Bannermans whining in the media that they are saving the world and protecting the airspace and blah blah blah.

    • Marion Ambler

      Does planting corn fields, which are major bird attractants, around
      airports keep airspace safer?? Yeah right.

      The #1 way airports prevent bird strikes is habitat management and land use around airports so they don’t attract birds.

      However for some strange reason the USDA wants to plant corn fields around airports. Sure…just attract more birds to kill. Problem is when you miss a few and they fly into a plane. Cuckoo.

      “U.S. Airports are Sitting on a Biofuel Goldmine”

      “Meanwhile, the USDA is continuing its research on biofuel crop production in combination with wildlife management at airports in different regions of the U.S.”

      http://cleantechnica.com/2012/04/05/u-s-airports-are-sitting-on-a-biofuel-goldmine/

      EMBRY- RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY

      And Agriculture, what are they thinking? Why spend tax money researching airports as agriculture sites?

      For heaven’s sake, they are for airplanes. If America needs more biofuel, Agriculture should be working on the other 99.9% of farm acreage which doesn’t include airplanes.

      Have they never heard of risk?

      One would think the FAA’s prime advisor, USDA, would be the leading example of FAA rule compliance, not researching their way around it.

      http://wildlifecenter.pr.erau.edu/newsletters/newsletter_spring_2013.pdf