Friday, May 6, 2011

Less Than Zero

Forget about foresight.
We don't even have insight.
Today, there is this article describing the latest goose harassment at Prospect Park.  The piece carries a photo of a GooseBuster's dog preparing to chase TWO geese off the lake at Prospect Park:
But, in this case, the Prospect Park Alliance cannot be rightly or wholly  blamed for the now very senseless, cruel and irrational harassment of a pitifully small handful of geese on the park lake.
The parks department is mostly reacting to all the threats from the city, the FAA,  the USDA and, on a wider scale, the US Dept of Interior.
"Either you get rid of the geese or we will come in there and gas whatever geese are there."
Even if that number is less than a dozen or so.
Last year, we decimated the population of native geese in New York City.
This year, it appears we are seeking to exterminate whatever geese managed to survive the previous massacres.
The reality is, the geese being chased now from Prospect Park (or Central Park for that matter) have NO place to go in our fair city where they will NOT be gassed, shot down, their eggs destroyed or harassed.
Even Jamaica Wildlife Refuge, which last year managed to protect its geese is supposedly on this year's hit list for goose cullings.
Most people look forward to the spring and summer months.
I am personally dreading, both this month (May) and next month.
The geese will be molting in June rendering them flightless for about 4 to 6 weeks.  That is when they will again be subjected to the roundups and gassings of the USDA at designated areas.
Last night, I went to Harlem Meer and walked around the entire lake.
There was a total of six geese on it and a small group of mallards.
Now, I am wondering if the rapidly declining numbers of geese at the Meer is due to the birds' own choices to leave or in fact, whether they are being harassed and chased out as they now are at Prospect Park and other areas?
Central Park Conservancy does admit to now using GooseBusters since ending the contract with "Geese Relief" last November.  That was immediately after ALL the birds were harassed from the Meer with some type of loud, noisemaker device ( detailed in this journal) from Geese Relief.
The harassed and chased swan has never returned.
What is painfully troubling now is the question of where all the vanishing and chased geese are going?
Its past the migratory season, so presumably the native geese being chased from city parks now are simply moving to other nearby locations where they will be similarly chased or worse, shot or gassed.
I am thinking of the geese I have come to know over the months:
The pair of "bottoms up" geese at the Meer who love giving a show, (bobbing up and down in the water and waving their butts in the air simultaneously).   I haven't seen them in at least two weeks.
The ever protective, Ralph and his lame, shy mate, Alice.
"Bozo," the gander who protects his mate by (bravely or foolishly) by challenging all the dogs who enter the Meer.
The five grown goslings who were hatched at Turtle Pond last year.
Mama and Papa geese at Turtle Pond.  
Mama's new eggs vanished more than a week ago and were presumably destroyed.  But, what will become of the protective lame gander and his devoted mate themselves?   Will Mama and Papa too, be harassed out of the park only to be gassed or shot some place else?
I am very scared and worried for these animals.
But, I probably won't have answers to these questions until late July or early August.
That is when, following molting, the surviving Central Park geese usually reunite with each other and their families at Harlem Meer prior to the fall migrations.
In the past that number of geese has usually been fairly sizable.--  Between 50 and 100.
But, what will it be this summer?
I am fearing almost empty lakes and ponds as they are now. 
Ultimately though, we have no one to blame for this travesty of both common sense and justice, but ourselves.
Sure, it may be government bureaucracy and various city agencies that make these decisions.
But, as the saying goes, "The people get the government they deserve."
By turning our heads away from the wrongs of the world, we thus say to city and federal officials and leaders:
"The number of acceptable geese in our city parks is less than zero."  -- PCA

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