USDA euthanizes 200 geese at Phenix City park due to overpopulation

Updated: Jul. 11, 2019 at 6:56 PM EDT
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PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WTVM) - Once facing extinction, Canada Geese were a protected species in the United States for many years. Now, they’re a staple in many bodies of water.

One lake in Phenix City did have roughly 200 birds just a few days ago.

According to one resident, there were more geese than she could count there until Tuesday, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) came in and euthanized them all. The USDA said the population in this area was too large.

If you’ve ever walked around Moon Lake, prior to this week, you probably noticed lots of geese walking or swimming too. But not anymore.

“That’s what people go up there for, to see the ducks. They’ve got signs everywhere that says don’t feed them bread,” said resident Diane Kuykendall.

Kuykendalll is devastated to know that nearly 200 geese were euthanized.

“And I know they poop all over the place," said Kuykendalll. "That’s one of the main concerns the lady at Parks and Rec told me. The reason why is, people are complaining because they don’t want to step in it. Well, I thought step around it or go to a different park where there is no water that attracts fowlers.”

The USDA said the population of Canada Geese at Idle Hour Park was too high, causing problems, including the over accumulation of droppings, overgrazing, and the foul smell in the recreational area. But, the federal government only got involved because of a local request for help.

“We were getting a lot of complaints about people trying to use the park and having to walk through goose feces to do it and children playing out there. Like I said, it becomes a health hazard. You have to take action,” said Assistant City Manager Stephen Smith.

The USDA said relocation is not an option because of the birds migratory nature. Kuykendall wishes there was another solution besides euthanization.

“The Canadian geese mate for life and when one of them dies, the other one goes off and mourns it,” Kuykendall said.

Smith said the USDA has to step in and do this every five years or so in urban areas like this one. Most recently, about 150 Canada geese were euthanized in Montgomery.

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