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Farmers Dispute Cull Claims

February 4, 2008
Farmers Dispute Cull Claims

Farmers strongly dispute claims by Fish and Game that the Canada geese cull in the Wairarapa was a success.

“In spite of hunter efforts, only 40 percent of the required number of geese were removed. To achieve the compliance number of 2,000 birds under the Canada Goose Management Plan for Wairarapa, hunters needed to kill at least 1,683 geese, said Anders Crofoot president for Wairarapa Federated Farmers.

“As 1,000 geese still need to be culled, farmers were correct in predicting that this attempt would be ineffective.

“Federated Farmers has always said hunting culls are not the best method of maintaining numbers and has repeatedly advised Fish & Game that a helicopter cull at moulting time is the most effective way to knockdown the goose population to designated levels.

“Fish & Game have said that helicopter culls are expensive and dangerous but the fiasco that unfolded over the weekend put more than geese at risk. Federated Farmers has learnt in an ironic twist that Fish & Game had to hire a helicopter to rescue one of their jet boats that became stuck in the shallow lake.

“Farmers are incredibly frustrated the job isn’t being done properly and an opportunity has been wasted. Not only are the numbers killed inadequate but the hunt has had the effect of dispersing geese to other areas and therefore the chance for an efficient cull in the future is dubious.

“Fish & Game are implying that there is opportunity for ongoing culls but the reality is they are not doing their job. There is one chance to cull which is during the moult before fledging birds take flight and this year the opportunity has been wasted,” Mr Crofoot said.

The most recent count of Canada geese on Lake Wairarapa is 3,683 birds, well above the agreed level of 2,000 for the whole district

Federated Farmers recommends Canada geese should be placed under the Wildlife Act's fifth schedule – giving it no protection and the possibility of being tagged a pest, allowing more effective culling techniques.

"Losing its protection would allow landowners, councils and others in the community to act more aggressively to bring this pest down to manageable levels," Mr Crofoot said.


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