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Canada Geese: Mandate For Action

Canada Geese: Mandate For Action

An overwhelming majority of farmers want to change the way Canada geese are treated under the Wildlife Act to pave the way for a strategy to cut back numbers of the pest, according to a survey by Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

"The results are a clear signal that many farmers want more effective action in controlling Canada geese numbers," said Charlie Pedersen, Vice President of FFNZ.

The poll of federation members found that about 90 percent of respondents support removing Canada geese from the game bird list. Results will be passed to the Department of Conservation, which is preparing a discussion paper on the listing of bird species under various schedules of the Wildlife Act.

FFNZ has applauded the decision by Conservation Minister Chris Carter to review the content of the schedules. The review will also encompass other species and hopefully include Spur-winged Plover and Paradise duck.

Currently, the "grubby goose" is on the Act's first schedule, which places limits on how and when the bird can be killed. FFNZ wants the bird shifted to the fifth schedule or an alternative way found to allow for more effective culling techniques.

"Losing its current protection would allow landowners, councils and others in the community to act more forcibly using the most efficient pest control measures to bring the pest down to manageable levels," said Mr Pedersen.

However Mr Pedersen said that any move from the first schedule must take account of the effects on an established but only partially effective goose management plan in the South Island.

The Canada goose problem now extends way beyond the South Island, with rapidly increasing geese numbers through the North Island. Two to three geese eat daily the equivalent of food consumed by one sheep. Farmers regularly lose hectares of precious autumn-saved greenfeed to geese. A thousand geese produce about 350 kg of droppings a day, fowling lake water quality and pasture for livestock.

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