Friday, June 28, 2013

"It Takes a Village" -- Community Engagement Critical to Saving Wildlife and Geese

Mary Beth Purdy Artz speaking to crowd at June 26th rally to protect Canada geese.  (Photo credit: GooseWatch,NYC.)
One could say the goose poop is hitting the fan in North Carolina:

The clandestine USDA roundup and gassing of 144 Canada geese from Gaston Park, has sparked community outrage and media coverage that has not been rivaled since this same rogue agency rounded up and gassed 352 geese from Prospect Park in Brooklyn almost three years ago.

Most of the credit for wide scale media coverage is due to the gutsy (112) Carolina Waterfowl Rescue  whose offers to help humanely manage the goose population in the park were completely dismissed in favor of a brutal, secret and barbaric USDA WS extermination.

Of course, we in New York City are more than familiar with secret and barbaric goose roundups as they have become par for the course here.  Once USDA WS gets a foot-hold in a community (or city) they seem to become entrenched and wildlife eradications become "business as usual." 

Goose massacres in New York City are in fact no longer reported by local (or national) media and on the contrary, are expanding now to other birds species (as reported here a few days ago).

10,000 birds slated to be executed in New York State over the next few months and not a word about this in any of the major press here.

Reading over the many articles from Dallas, NC, it is a trip back in time to July, 2010 and all the public outrage over the goose gassings that occurred from Prospect Park at that time.

But, what exactly happened to all that community and public outrage?

Three years later, there are presently no geese in Prospect Park to worry over or to potentially be subjected to a second WS "cull."

Some might call that a victory, but if so, it is a seemingly hollow one.

The fact is, that between the massacre of 2010 and subsequent harassment and egg-addling programs, Prospect Park has been completely emptied and devoid of all resident geese.

It seems community outrage has to be channeled into long term advocacy and activism on behalf of wildlife in our parks less the targeted wildlife is ultimately and secretly "gotten rid of" one way or the other.

We cannot afford to take our eyes off the ball or yield to rock and hard place Hobsen's choices, as to do so is to seemingly sell out the very animals we portend to care about protecting and maintaining some population of in our parks.

Certainly, community engagement, education and outreach needs to be an ongoing endeavor as with so many distractions, activities and pressures, it is too easy for people to fall into a kind of lull (as Martin Lowney of USDA suggested and counts on) and "forget" the massacres that occurred in their public parks only a year or two earlier.

Knowing the dedication to cause and birds of Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, one can feel confident that this particular organization of dedicated people will not take their eyes off the ball and will continue to do advocacy and community outreach on the geese's and other birds' behalf.

It indeed takes a village, not only to advocate on the behalf of children, but animals as well.

Both require long term commitments, persistence and a sense of never giving up.

And even though the going can get real tough (as in NYC), it just means the tough have to keep going as was the case this past Wednesday (June 26th) when many dozens of New Yorkers attended the (27) GooseWatch NYC  rally to speak up for the geese -- three years after the Prospect Park goose gassings:

But, it doesn't stop with one rally, or one comment or letter to a newspaper, or one article or visit to a park to check on our remaining geese (presuming we still have any).

(The media coverage of today is too often forgotten tomorrow.)

Engagement has to be every day and it has to be experience of head, heart and most of all, soul -- even when there is no media or even a single human ear or eye to hear and see. -- PCA


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