Hundreds of Geese Culled in Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska on July 2, 2013 6:03pm 

 Geese culling at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Reserve.
Geese culling at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Reserve.
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David Karopkin

QUEENS — Hundreds of geese were removed from Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve Tuesday morning in order to reduce their population near JFK airport — a move that angered animal activists.

The birds were rounded up between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., according to David Karopkin, who runs the anti-geese-killing organization GooseWatch NYC and witnesses the culling of the birds.

“We removed 231 birds,” confirmed Tanya Espinosa from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s  Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in an e-mail. 

After the culling, “there were still approximately 100 Canada geese seen at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve,” she said.

Don Riepe, who patrols the area as Jamaica Bay Guardian for the American Littoral Society, said he found out about the roundup after the workers had already left.

“They didn’t give anyone warning," he said. "They are doing it in secrecy.”

Karopkin who said the culling is done in July, because geese have babies at that time and are very vulnerable.

“It’s a disgrace to kill...geese at a wildlife refuge,” he said. “I’m disgusted.”

A culling was also conducted last year at the refuge, which is located close to JFK airport, where planes can potentially collide with birds.

That April, a Los Angeles-bound flight collided with birds and had to make an emergency landing.

In 2009, Canada geese struck Flight 1459 shortly after it took off from New York's LaGuardia, causing the plane to ditch in the Hudson River.

The meat from the culled birds "are sent to a poultry processing plant and the meat is donated to local food banks," according to Espinosa.

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