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More join protest over planned cull of Canada Geese at Windermere
PLANS to cull Canada geese on Windermere are being met with mounting opposition.
The spring cull proposed by the Lake District National Park Authority would eliminate 200 of the non-native birds after complaints were made by landowners about the geese eating crops and concerns their droppings affect water quality.
South Lakeland conservationist Clive Hartley described the plan as ‘a total massacre’ and this week received backing from the Canada Goose Conservation Society (CGCS).
Another opponent has launched a petition, which has attracted about 150 signatures.
In a statement, the CGCS said it ‘deplored’ the LDNPA’s ‘cruel’ proposal and the 1,000 birds which live on the lake was a ‘tiny number’ compared to its size.
“It is nonsense to suggest that shooting the geese in the spring, when they are nesting, is likely to make it easier to kill both birds in a pair at the same time,” said a spokesman.
“Of course, the flock will all try to fly away as soon as they realise what is happening. Shooting is never humane; some birds will be wounded. The shooting of adult birds, as well as being cruel, is not an effective means of reducing numbers of Canada geese since more birds will always fly in to the territory.”
Lake District visitor Neil Ryding contacted the Gazette to say he was ‘horrified’ at the cull and has started a petition calling on the LDNPA to re-think its plans.
“These are beautiful creatures who do no harm to anyone,” said Mr Ryding. “I love coming to the Lake District because of the wildlife, including the geese, but I will not be visiting again if this cull goes ahead.”
His petition can be found at www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-cull-of-geese-in-windermere-this-spring-please-do-not-allow-the-mass-geese-slaughter-in-windermere Meanwhile, dozens of people voiced their anger on The Westmorland Gazette website, some criticising the RSPB for not objecting to the cull.
HolisticH wrote: “I have been in contact with the RSPB to air my concerns and I urge others who are against the cull to contact them.”
And Henry Alex said he was disgusted and would cancel his RSPB membership, writing: “I am a member as I thought that they protect birds. The birds are wonderful living creatures.”
LDNPA ranger Steve Tatlock said killing the geese would improve water quality on Windermere, help with land management, address farming concerns and protect tourist activities.
He understood the issue was emotive and that any cull would be to high standards.
An RSPB spokesperson said: “We wouldn’t object to a bird culling if there was a good reason for it such as a health and safety issue.”
He added that the charity’s North West conservation officer would be looking into the reasons behind the planned cull before stating whether the RSPB was for or against it.