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Advocates remove geese from Byrd Park: 'We want them to have a better quality of life'

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Posted at 4:20 PM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 16:23:20-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Advocates with Carolina Waterfowl Rescue removed 100 domestic, non-migrating geese from Byrd Park Friday.

"The goal of the adoption is to improve the health and safety of the park and its wildlife," Tamara Jenkins, a spokesperson for Richmond's Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, previously said in an email.

The non-profit group was supposed to remove the fowl last month, but the plans were halted because of an agriculture requirement that meant the geese needed to be tested before they could be moved out of state.

"While residents and visitors enjoy feeding the geese, this tradition has resulted in harm to the domestic geese," according to a city spokesperson. "A diet of human food causes deformities that harm geese and cause 'angel wing,' making it impossible to fly. The city also cited concerns about the Canadian geese never leaving the park.”

As a result, the city increased signage around the park urging people not to feed bread to the geese, Jenkins said.

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The geese will be taken to Carolina Waterfowl Rescue's land, a "safe haven," in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Jennifer Gordon, the group's executive director, said the group plans to re-home some of the geese.

"We’re only taking the domestic geese, not the wild geese... They’re kinda dependent on people to feed them, they’re unable to fly distance," Gordon said "People don’t show up to the park to feed them when its snowing, and the other geese will just fly somewhere to find food, but these guys can’t leave."

Gordon, who laughingly referred to herself as the goose lady, said she wants the geese to "have a better quality of life."

"The park doesn’t really sustain the large volume of the geese that’s here, so a reduced number of geese will actually be healthier for this environment," she said. "There will still be birds for people to feed."