By Brian Maass
DENVER (CBS4) – Beset by complaints about aggressive Canada geese and their droppings, Denver’s Parks and Recreation Department is engaging in forced birth control for geese in Denver parks by oiling eggs, preventing them from hatching.READ MORE: JeffCo Public Health Seeking Court Order Supporting Enforcement Of COVID Mandates
“It creates suffocation in the egg and we don’t have new goslings,” said Vicki Vargas-Madrid, wildlife program administrator for Denver Parks and Rec. “It’s very successful in the parks we are using it at.”
Vargas-Madrid said between March and August of this year, the agency will oil approximately 2,000 eggs in various Denver parks as a way of managing the city’s burgeoning goose population. Authorities estimate about 20,000 Canada geese now live in Denver parks year around, not bothering to migrate during winter months.
“They have the perfect habitat in our parks. Food, water, shelter and not enough natural predators to keep the population down,” said Vargas-Madrid.
“If I were a goose I would live in City Park or Wash Park,” she said.
But the geese have polluted those parks with droppings to the point park users regularly complain to the city. On a recent day at Washington Park, Ariana Horton said “We had a hard time finding a place to sit down today just because there’s poop everywhere.”
As she cared for several children, Horton said the geese can get aggressive.READ MORE: Glenwood Springs Businesses Hopeful Relief Money Can Help Them Recover From Problematic Summer
“They’ll come up when we are eating and that’s just a hassle.”
In another area of the park, David Wilhelm said the geese “just kind of own the park basically. It’s their park.”
He said it would be nice if the park was less overrun with goose droppings.
“It’s definitely a lot to deal with when you are walking through the park, for sure.”
Vargas-Madrid said Wash Park and City Park have the highest concentrations of Canada geese and generate the most complaints. She said the egg oiling program was targeting goose eggs at those parks and Berkeley, Harvard and Garfield parks.
With the goose population growing, Vargas-Madrid acknowledged there are ongoing conversations about culling the goose population by more lethal means.
“Yes, we are in discussions with other agencies that would allow us to do that. She said euthanizing geese is under discussion but “We’re not there yet.”MORE NEWS: Stag Hollow Fire In Larimer County Now Fully Contained