A local Tasmanian council has launched an internal investigation to find out why it was not consulted about a decision to cull 14 geese and two ducks at New Norfolk’s Tynwald Park yesterday.
In a social media post earlier today, the Derwent Valley Council said it had been made aware of a situation regarding the removal of geese from the park, following public complaints about bird droppings in the area.
The post read:
“A number of complaints from the community about excessive bird droppings together with ongoing damage to the playing field over the last couple of months led to council officers discussing how to remedy the situation at Tynwald Park.
“The licensed pest management company employed the use of a chemically laced bait which resulted in 14 geese and two ducks being destroyed. No native species were destroyed.”
The incident comes two months after the Launceston Golf Club backed down on its planned wildlife cull following strong public backlash.
Derwent Valley Mayor Ben Shaw said he was “shocked” by the cull and wanted “answers for the community”.
“Some geese have been removed and subsequently died in that process and whether that was ordered or whether that happened in the process is what we are still trying to get to the bottom of,” he said.
Cr Shaw said council had no prior knowledge of any planned culls until information about the incident appeared on social media.
He added that council officers had previously discussed ways to remove the birds, but had not spoken to elected members about any formal decision to carry out a cull.
“It’s really distressing for the councillors and elected members as well to have this pop up without any notice and we haven’t discussed removing or culling or anything of geese in this area,” Cr Shaw said.
He said elected members should have greater say in such decisions and added that he would investigate the process and decision-making that led to the birds’ deaths.
“For us not to even have a hand in relocating them is pretty scary, so we really need to make sure the general manager and staff is consulting elected members on big decisions like this,” he said.
Animal rights activists ‘deeply concerned’
Animal Liberation spokesperson Kristy Alger said more appropriate steps should have been taken to prevent the animals’ deaths.
“It’s deeply concerning that a council officer can simply make the decision that, based on a couple of complaints about a little bit of poo in an area, they can just go and kill these animals,” she said.
“There are so many other solutions that could have been approached surrounding this such as fencing the park area, asking the people not to feed ducks too close to the park area or simply cleaning it up.”
Local resident Emma Rowell visits the park almost every day and said the birds provided a nice “natural atmosphere” at the park.
“The geese have been part of this park and it just shows there’s a good ecosystem on the river, that they’re healthy and happy down here,” she said.
“They have never been a nuisance when we’ve been walking the dog here. My daughter comes and plays here all the time and they stay to the river bank, they don’t encroach on anybody’s space.”
Derwent Valley Council has assured the public that the park is safe to use and further enquiries with council officers will be conducted early next week.