The geese problem at Johnston Memorial Park is a human problem
To the editor:
Mayor Polisena callously wisecracked that he wishes he could harass geese as much as he perceives them to harass him! Really Mayor! My family, friends, and I have frequently witnessed harassment towards these sentient beings by people of all ages during our walks at the park. Attacks by nearby schoolgirls and boys are common. Parents who bring their children say and do nothing when their toddlers throw sticks and stones at nearby geese. Mayor, rest assured that geese, generally, would not prefer our company to other species given our radical and arbitrary behavior toward them.
In fact, since last winter, there remain to be seen only a third of a bevy of geese that had numbered well over a 100 birds. Since geese are not flying south any longer, what happened to them? And what is really the hidden agenda underlying the interview between park administration and the town mayor? This news report smells of an attempt to garner support to launch an anti-geese campaign in order to eradicate the geese altogether.
Past pseudo attempts to keep the geese at bay, such as using another animal (dog) to terrorize the geese is inhumane, and served only as cheap and cruel amusement for humans. The fact that the geese have endured at all is due to their courage, persistence, and sadly, little opportunity elsewhere to survive.
Last winter, JMP removed the barrier surrounding the pond. The geese were very happy as they prefer this, since now they can enter and exit more comfortably from the sloping banks. Well, you may say, this was done so that people can fish from the artificially stocked pond. So, what are the geese and ducks to do: first, we create a welcome sign, then curse them for enjoying it.
At greater stake is the worldwide cavalier destruction of free roaming animal habitat from the human penchant for growing urban sprawl, self-centeredness and greed without any thought as to the devastating effect on all surrounding life.
We can use creativity rather than persecute these birds. We can reach out to public and private parks across our nation for help in implementing a compassionate deterrent to keep birds in separate quarters from humans.
By creating habitat and landscape modification as well as educating humans; for example, explaining assertive geese behavior that usually only occurs when humans encroach near nesting sights, or impatience when geese cross their paths, and/or move to fast or too close to their families. Usually a stretched neck or honk is a reminder. We can invite local schools to encourage students to learn about animal behavior and create billboards and flyers, institute strict fines for stubborn humans who insist on feeding park animals. Parents who allow their children to feed ducks and geese can only be perceived by the geese as a friendly invitation to remain closer to the very species that is complaining about their presence.
As for the droppings, rerouting and creating net covers for the walking path and sports fields. Replacing grasses with non-geese friendly types as well as vegetative barriers that have proven to be effective in other areas.
Humans are capable of much good, yet when it concerns other species, many of us turn a blind eye and see “them” as the “problem.” Using our energies to include compassion for other species creates hope for the geese and for our world, if only, we will open our minds and hearts to the endless possibilities around us.
Mrs. R. Carlson