More than 100 geese removed from Byrd Park

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — About 150 geese at Byrd Park will soon have new homes. Richmond Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities removed the geese Friday with the help of Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, a non-profit organization based in North Carolina.

While some residents were happy to see the geese go, others were very upset watching the birds be put in cages and taken away.

Richmond Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities said the removal is for the health and safety of the park and its wildlife. The department said while residents and visitors enjoy feeding the geese at the park, the tradition is hurting the domestic geese.

“We just want to see them have a better quality of life,” said Jennifer Gordon, executive director of Carolina Waterfowl Rescue.

Gordon said the geese that were removed from the park are domestic farm geese that cannot migrate like wild Canada Geese. They depend on people to feed them. “People don’t show up to the park to feed them when it’s snowing and the other geese will just fly to find food, but these guys can’t leave,” said Gordon.

In addition, the geese are often fed human food, which can cause deformities, according to Richmond Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.

Moving the birds will also improve the condition of the lakes and paths at the park, said the department. Some residents told 8News the geese are getting overpopulated and it is creating a mess.

However, others in the community, like Kathryn Aiken, are angry. “This is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong on every single level. The amount of stress and trauma this is causing the geese,” she told 8News.

Aiken felt that the decision was made without enough community input. “This is very secretive. They did it quick. Why would you have to remove them today? What’s with the emergency of removing them today?,” Aiken said.

Gordon assured the geese are in good hands. “I would be emotional about them leaving if I was a resident too, but I think the distinction is you have to separate the emotions from the geese’s needs,” she said.

She also pointed out that many cities resort to euthanizing geese when the populations get out of control. “That’s a real reality for geese that become overpopulated, so we’re actually really grateful for the City of Richmond because they have worked with us,” Gordon told 8News.

The geese were transported to a veterinary farm in Virginia where they will be checked for injuries and disease. After they are medically cleared, the geese will be grouped by family and available for adoption at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue’s facility in Charlotte, NC.

If you are interested in adopting some of geese, email adopt@cwrescue.org. Potential adopters must go through a screening process to demonstrate they have adequate homes for the birds and knowledge of waterfowl care.

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