PROTESTORS against the culling of 200 Canada Geese gathered at Bowness Bay today.

Between 50 and 100 campaigners chanted 'Kill the cull' and held up banners saying 'Peace for Geese' and 'Shafted by the LDNPA' to oppose the proposed culling this spring.

Organiser Kathy Muscer from Respect for Wildlife had a loudspeaker at the event, and said to the public: "It is absolutely disgraceful to kill these geese when there is no scientific evidence to back this up.

"There is no need to go out with a shotgun and shoot birds.

"This is an unscientific, barbaric act that the LDNPA is intending to do."

Tourists and tourism businesses also turned up to oppose the cull, saying that the cull would have an adverse effect on the industry if it were to go ahead.

“I am disgusted to hear that the local tourist board is part of this problem,” said Nigel Harris, director of Bed and Breakfasts Guide Ltd, a Birmingham-based company which tourists can use to book hotels, including those in the Lakes.

“A lot of people come here for the birds so for the national park to kill its own wildlife is outrageous.

“This is causing such negative publicity that it is putting people off coming to the Lake District and we don’t want to support a National Park that acts irresponsibly.”

South Lakeland conservationist Clive Hartley said he and other protest groups were preparing a study of the lake to find non-lethal methods which could be used to manage Canada Geese numbers at the lake, adding that they would present their findings to the Windermere Geese Management Group.

“We want to discuss this with the LDNPA rather than have the geese management group adopt a stance where they are defending the indefensible.

“A long-term strategy is required, quick fixes like this won’t work.”

Neil Ryding, who has collected around 3,500 signatures on a petition he started against the cull, said: “I’m really pleased with the turnout and support we are getting.

“We are aiming to get up to 5,000 signatures and we will keep this petition open for as long as the geese management group are planning to cull these birds.”

Leaflets were also handed to passers-by against the plans to shoot the Canada Geese on their nests, saying that culls could go ahead for the next four years to manage their numbers in the area.