By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4)– The City of Denver is working with the United Stated Department of Agriculture on plan to manage a growing goose population in area parks. That plan calls for culling the flock and using the birds to feed hungry families.

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“When I started this job one of the first things I started doing was trying to manage the Geese,” said Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation Scott Gilmore.

Gilmore says the number one complaint his office receives is the amount of goose poop covering the ground, which he says is a nuisance but can also be a health concern and harmful to the water.

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“It had gotten to the point where the parks were being almost unenjoyable for a lot of people that is why we moved forward with this plan,” said Gilmore.

Belinda Begley lives across the street from Washington Park and has for years; the geese have been there just as long.

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“I have seen them multiply greatly in that time,” she said.

The city’s current goose management plan, which includes the use of a man made predator, known as the “Goosenator” isn’t working, which is why they have launched a more aggressive approach, known as culling.

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Working with the USDA, they can capture as many as 2,200 Canada geese in Colorado and process the meat.

“They are taking them to a processing facility where they are processed and they are donating them to needy families,” Gilmore said.

However, not everyone who enjoys the park agrees with the new approach.

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“I think supporting underprivileged people is noble, but killing wild geese to feed those, sounds ridiculous,” said Howard Turk.

Turk lives nearby and says having the geese around is part of the joy that comes with being outdoors.

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“This is a park, people want to be in nature and play, why kill them?” he said.

Other residents, like Begley say it is about balance.

“What a better thing to do with the geese then feed hungry people,” she asked. “There’s too many geese and too many hungry people, so it works out,” she said.

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Gilmore says Denver residents can expect to see this new approach used in all Denver parks, although Washington Park is where it is currently underway.

Karen Morfitt

Comments (5)
  1. Tom Barrus says:

    Howard Turk’s opinion is ridiculous. Culling the vastly overpopulated Denver goose population to feed hungry people is the right thing to do and should have been done long ago!

  2. Jennie Wing says:

    Feeding the poor and hungry…what a crock. Most of them are likely goslings that won’t have any meat on them and after nesting the adults will be at their lowest weights too. Good grief…a few hundred people might get a serving of goose at one meal and they make it sound like they are really saving umans here. And I guess they never heard of EGG ADDLING to manage the population. This has been used successfully in the Okanagan Valley in BC, Canada for 13 years and their population has not increased at all in 13 years.

    And there is no more disgusting group in the USA than the USDA Wildlife Mis-Services. They’ll get good money now to return regularly to kill these poor birds. Shame on you Denver.

  3. Jennifer Keys says:

    Setting a precedent of killing wildlife to feed the burgeoning population of people is just not a good idea. The bison, the passenger pigeon were wiped out this way.

  4. Tracy Malina Davis says:

    Surely, with all the technological advances we’ve made over the decades, we can come up with something other than killing every animal who inconveniences us by their presence. We justify this the same way that Germans justified killing Jews and the same way that whites justified killing Indians and people in Somalia and Libya have justified killing others. And please spare me the “how can you compare killing geese with killing humans” whine. If we continue our world domination ideology, we’re going to wipe out our nature-made home, along with ourselves.

  5. K. Dieter Heidrich says:

    We have lived right next to Wash Park and Smith Lake for going on seven years. For the first few years we used to enjoy the park and the grassy areas by ourselves and with our granddaughters. This includes the Canadian Geese, who by the way, used to be just temporary visitors to Denver. In the last three years, the number of geese have totally overwhelmed the park. It is difficult for adults to walk through the grass and impossible for children with short legs without being stuck in goose poop, what then gets tracked home. I am not sure if the above comments come from people who actually use the park or just talk about it. I think catching the geese in a considered manner and providing food for needy folks is a brilliant idea!