Nearly 500 people have signed a petition urging the city of Denver to come up with a better plan to deal with a goose infestation in city parks, most notably Washington Park.
The group, calling itself Citizens to Restore the Parks, points to a growing number of geese defecating in parks leading to what the group calls health and safety issues.
“We are concerned that there are quality of life issues as well as health and safety issues and we’re trying to convince the city to do more about it,” Steve Spirn, a spokesman for the group, told Next.
“They are in the process of starting to build a million-dollar playground right here in Wash Park,” he said. “We know that children have picked up goose poop in that very playground. We think a priority should be to deal with those questions before we do more infrastructure.”
There is no official estimate on the number of resident geese in the city. Wildlife officials have estimated about 20,000 live in Colorado’s front range. That figure is up from 5,000 in the year 2000.
“By the hundreds of thousands, they deposit about a half a pound of poop a day,” Spirn argued. “You can’t walk, down the sidewalks, you can’t sit down to have a picnic.”
Denver Parks and Recreation has implemented a few measures to try to reduce the resident goose population.
City wildlife officials use a robot called the “Goosinator” to try to haze the geese and scare them away from parks. They also oil goose eggs to prevent them from hatching.
“The main reason they’re here is because we’ve created that natural habitat for them,” said Vicki Vargas-Madrid, a naturalist for Denver Parks and Recreation. “They have water, food, shelter, space… no natural predators. You know if I were a goose, I’d live here.”
Vargas-Madrid said the geese love the vegetation of the parks. When the city has tried to change the vegetation to something the geese might not prefer, they face pushback from the public.
“You’re never going to make everybody happy, but we have to look at all of the different factors of why the geese are here… what are some things we can do,” she said.
Vargas-Madrid did say the city is researching the growing goose population and trying to estimate how many geese permanently call Denver home. She also said the city will explore the petition.
She also said the city has tried to relocate geese with no luck. The same tagged geese seem to keep returning to the city.
Still, Spirn and many others feel the city isn’t serious enough about the problem, so they are pushing others to sign the petition.
“This is not an anti-animal or anti-bird movement,” he said. “This is a quality of life for people and their pets movement.”