DENVER — A controversial tactic to reduce the Canada geese population will continue into 2020, Denver Parks and Recreation announced Monday.
This summer marked the first year Denver Parks and Recreation joined forces with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to round up nearly 1,700 geese, kill them, and feed them to people in need. The city signed a three-year contract with the USDA.
On Tuesday, Denver Parks and Recreation Deputy Executive Director Scott Gilmore was invited to talk at a City Parks Friends and Neighbors meeting to discuss the plan to reduce the geese population.
Anger, support, and curiosity flared during the discussion.
“Stop saying you love geese and then kill them,” said Courtney DeWinter, a member of Canada Geese Protection Colorado.
Gilmore said Denver is home to about 5,000 geese. He explained to locals at the meeting that geese poop about a pound a day and it leaves the city with about 5,000 pounds of poop to clean up daily.
“It’s not just the goose poop on the ground — all that poop gets in the waterways, it just gets everywhere, and it actually aggravates algae bloom," he said.
He said it’s normal for geese to travel, but over the years, more geese are choosing to stay in Denver.
The city has tried several tactics over the years to decrease the population, including oiling eggs and hazing geese so they migrate.
DeWinter said she plans to keep fighting against the new city practice. She said taxpayer money should be used to buy machines that clean up the poop, not kill wildlife.
Gilmore said he’s received death threats about the practice, but he doesn’t plan to back down despite the backlash.
“I’m actually doing responsible wildlife management,” Gilmore said.
He said the city took the drastic measure after an outpour of complaints.
JP Sleeger said he frequents City Park and plays volleyball at local parks. He said the poop is overwhelming and while he isn’t sure what the solution is, there needs to be a balance.
“I support it — I think it’s a humane way to treat the problem and to be as mindful,” Sleeger said.
The geese meat was not tested this year before it was donated to pantries, but Gilmore said they will look into getting testing done next year. He said testing the meat isn’t required because the geese are wild.
Gilmore said he plans to continue informing the public about the importance of the practice.