Thursday, January 19, 2012

Canterbury's Goose cooked?

Way back it looked likely that the Canada Goose was going to be in serious strife, having been removed from the remit of F&G to control. Dec/Jan is moult time, where the goose loses most of its feathers (including flight feathers) which are replaced by a new crop. Thus the bird is relatively defenseless so seeks large bodies of water to shelter from land based predators. I totally understand that as a body, hunters simply were not able to fully control the population of Canadas. I am sympathetic as hell to all the farmers who have watched a flock descend on new pasture and destroy it. The costs associated are terrible.

In the past few weeks, Fed Farmers in Central South island have, with funding from external bodies, carried out mass extermination ("culls" doesn't seem the right word, as there's an implication of selectivity and process management) of geese from Lake Ellesmere, to the High Country. Even their own management plan was ignored. Right now, no one is certain of the exact number of birds destroyed, but a figure of ~18,000 is being touted in various circles. The destruction was carried out by contractors riding helicopters and shooting the geese from above.

Its taken some time for me to reconcile my thoughts on the matter. As I've said I have great sympathy for the select properties affected by pasture & crop destruction. But certain parts of the Feds are acting way beyond a level of commonsense, both in terms of the kill and certainly in terms of the aftermath. For a start, lead shot is totally banned over waterways on DOC estate. Last time I looked, Lake Ellesmere was owned by you and me; and administered by DOC. Not to mention some pf the high country lakes. So where are the recriminations/legal efforts? Further, reportedly a large percentage of the carcasses were not removed and are currently festering in an already polluted water body (Ellesmere aint no crystal clear pure pool). The whole thing stinks.

But even better dear taxpayer, you funded it.

Here are some links to various background, reports and commentary. Some is Internet forum chat so expect emotion.

As a F&G Councillor I can only shake my head and think 'what if?'. As a taxpayer I can think of better ways of using my mandatory donation. As a hunter I'm appalled. As a believer in justice I know I'll be grinding my teeth waiting for someone to explain how the hell control plans which are supposed to be signed off, are ignored and without any recourse or price to pay.

But if anyone thinks the goose is finished, I somehow don't think so personally.

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