EDITORIAL: We don’t have to like the goose cull

Is it really a goose problem or a human problem in the estuary?

People should be careful with their labels, especially when those descriptions lead to death.

The words “invasive,” “introduced” and “non-native” have been appearing in front of the word “species” quite a bit in recent months.

When it comes to Scotch broom, we get it. There’s a believable narrative about someone bringing this weed to Vancouver Island from Scotland. And it’s nasty stuff. And it needs to go. And thank goodness for the work of Broombusters.

Canada geese? We’re not so sure. And they are about to be killed by the dozens this spring under order of Parksville city council.

We have heard stories about how these geese are “non-native.” Someone or some group brought them to the Island, we are told, so they’d be available for hunting.

When one considers the proliferation of Canada geese everywhere in this country, it’s difficult to believe the geese weren’t already here, or would have come here on their own. They are impressive fliers, to state the obvious. The geese that live year round in places like Parksville Qualicum Beach, Langley or Kelowna were once migratory birds, surely.

Broom isn’t alive like geese are alive.

Now, the geese in the Englishman River estuary are doing some serious damage. They are changing the course of the river and destroying habitat to the point where it could have a serious effect on young salmon.

We like salmon more than geese, you see.

The question is this: are these geese doing what’s natural, doing what they would naturally do if there were no humans around this part of the world? Are we only concerned because they are changing the estuary, which might effect nearby properties? Isn’t that a human problem, not a goose problem?

We see the problems created by geese in the estuary, in our communities, on our beaches and golf courses. We understand the anger exhibited by those who want them gone (but perhaps not the absolute fury Mayor Marc Lefebvre seems to have for these birds). We wonder if their feces can carry diseases that will hurt us or our children. Did we mention they foul the golf courses something awful?

We are not opposed to the cull that’s about to happen in Parksville. But we don’t have to like it, either.

— Editorial by John Harding

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