Gaggle of geese living in Auckland park face being culled

10:52 am on 3 July 2019

More than 100 geese that have settled at Western Springs Park in Auckland could be headed for the chop.

Greylag goose (Anser anser) in profile, Western Springs Pond, Auckland, New Zealand

Geese at the pond in Western Springs Park in Auckland. Photo: 123RF

The gaggle has grown too big for the council's comfort. They each eat up to 3 kilograms of grass a day and a lot of what goes in must come out - 1.3kg per bird, per day.

Waitematā local board member Rob Thomas is fighting for the geese at Western Springs park not to be all be culled.

Rob Thomas. Photo: Rob Thomas / Facebook

But local body politician Rob Thomas, from the Waitematā Local Board, is keen to find new homes for them.

"What's happened is the environment really has gone into degradation within Western Springs, especially around the quality of water and ... the footpaths are having to be cleaned every day so the contractors who have been there haven't been what they call cuddling the eggs - which is like never shake a baby and because of that the population has boomed out to over 120 and we need to get that population back down.

"[Cuddling] is a way of making sure the eggs don't hatch and it's quite common within reserves and parks throughout New Zealand."

Mr Thomas would prefer finding homes for the birds rather than having them culled.

"We're not going to be able to save every one of them and they're still going to need a lot of ... vet checks to make sure they are healthy and we don't want to travel them too far either, so we're looking for people with lifestyle blocks."

He noted the birds were still wild.

"There is one lady who goes down every morning though and calls out to a goose down there and it waddles up and she feeds it."

That bird wasn't on the list for culling.

"They are beautiful, magnificent creatures and I'm sure [they'd] look good on someone's lifestyle block."

Mr Thomas said he'd been fielding calls from as far afield as the Hokianga Harbour and the West Coast regarding the birds, but wanted to find them a home near Auckland.