Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kiss the Geese Goodbye

The other day I angered a fellow advocate on Facebook when, referring to the low numbers of geese around the city and noting the plans for NYC geese next year, I wrote, "Take your photos now and kiss the geese goodbye."
Does such sound melodramatic or over the top?
Undoubtedly to those who still have some geese in their parks, it does.
But, personally, I haven't seen one goose in Central Park since last Thursday and I have been to all the main watercourses.
Moreover, while we are not getting goose number reports from all over the city, the ones we are getting appear, like Central Park, ominous.
Currently, the number of geese at Prospect Park in Brooklyn is between 40 and 50.  That may sound like a robust number -- until we compare it to the number of geese at Prospect Park during this same time period last year.
Prospect Park was of course, the site last summer, where 368 geese and goslings were rounded up on a July 8th morning and sent for gassing at JFK airport.
The entire goose population was wiped out.
But, less than two months later, 107 new geese had flown into the Prospect Park:
Contrast that to this year:
Throughout the molting period at Prospect Park at least 35 geese were observed.
That number now is about the same -- less than half of what it was the same time last year, even after the entire goose population had been eradicated six weeks earlier.
It essentially means that either very few or even no new geese have flown into Prospect Park since the molting period ended, several weeks ago.  (Last year, 107 had flown in.)
That is the same phenomenon observed in Central Park.  No new geese flying in during a period when, in the past, many dozens would arrive to Harlem Meer following molting and raising of young.
At Inwood Park in Manhattan, a goose roundup occurred this summer, but the USDA apparently did not get all the geese.
There are still a couple of dozen geese around the Inwood Park area, but few, if any new geese flying in.
While these numbers might not seem "alarming" to some, the fact we are not seeing new goose arrivals at a time we normally do, is, to my mind, very concerning.
Especially when one considers the plans currently in the works for NYC geese next year. (Send to local slaughterhouses and distribute to "soup kitchens.")
Additionally, with an early and expanded hunting season on the geese in New York State, we can anticipate about 70,000 of them to be shot either with guns or bows and arrows starting as early as the first weeks in September.
Add all of these facts up and yes, it looks very bad for any "resident" geese in New York City right now and indeed, throughout the entire state.
I believe there is tendency among some people (especially those in areas where there are still some geese) to "look on the positive side" and presume those geese will still be around next year.
I believe no such assumptions can be made in any area, especially when looking at prevailing tendencies, harassments, plans and downturns.
If we become complacent and do nothing over the next ten months then next summer we will once again be in the position of "reaction" and "shock" to goose roundups that have already occurred.
Personally, I am tired of always being in that position. 
I am not interested in attending rallies and protests every year for geese already slaughtered.   Bloomberg is laughing at us behind the posh draperies of his Manhattan townhouse.
The time to observe, question, petition, lobby and protest is now, not June of next year.
It will be too little, too late then -- as it has been for the last 8 years.
The wheels are already in motion to turn the remaining NYC geese next year into "gooseburgers."
We cannot wait around to cry crocodile tears then.
I am glad that over the past few years, I took hundreds of photos and some videos of Central Park geese.
Right now, that is all that I have.
And yes, to the others around New York City who still have some geese in their local parks and think those animals are "safe,"  I say, "Take your photos now and kiss the geese goodbye."   -- PCA

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