CANADA GEESE "OVERPOPULATION"
By Choo Choo Rosenbloom
Often, wildlife agencies claim that there is an "overpopulation of Canada geese" in our city and in other cities. Is there really an "overpopulation" and how accurate are goose population counts?
FIRST OF ALL, IT IS DIFFICULT TO ACCURATELY DETERMINE CANADA GEESE POPULATIONS
According to an article published by The Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese, The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Bureau of Wildlife, provides us with a good example of how contradictory and unreliable Canada goose population data can be. A NYS DEC News Release dated March 13,1991 proclaimed that, according to population surveys, there were 75,000 Canada geese in all of New York State. On the back page of the same release, another article mentioned that the total number (a direct count) of geese at two lakes in upstate NY was 109,000. Why the disparity? According to the DEC, the lower number was based on extrapolations from an aerial survey.
In another example from the same article by the Coalition, in 1995, the population of migratory Canada geese in the Eastern Flyway crashed suddenly. With the population on the verge of irreversible destruction, wildlife managers had to shut down, for an indefinite period, all hunting of these geese. The regular "hunting seasons" leading up to this decline were presumably justified based on population levels made from population data that were collected using standard techniques. These practices nearly caused a catastrophe.
Even if their estimate of the population of Canada Geese are correct, and they estimate that there are approximately 6 million Canada geese in Canada and the United States, the population of humans far exceeds the population of geese. 312 million humans versus 6 million geese? That's one Canada goose for every 52 humans. How can we say that there's an overpopulation of Canada geese when human numbers far outweigh geese numbers?
Even if there were a hundred million Canada geese, there would still not be an overpopulation of geese.