Canada geese in Gelsenkirchen: their population is increasing and so is the damage caused by animals. These measures should help now.
It’s a topic that has occupied people’s minds with a certain regularity for a long time — almost divided: because there is one camp, the advocates, the animal rights activists and nature lovers, and there are others who protect the animals I would love to see fatal. It must be about the wild geese, the Nile geese, but above all the Canadian geese, which are now part of the usual image of Gelsenkirchen. In fact, these species are not at all original. There is no inventory management solution yet.
Geese in Gelsenkirchen: The number of animals is increasing and so is the damage they cause
The original distribution area of the Canada geese, which are easily recognizable by their white and black head and gray feathers around the abdomen, chest and back, is actually North America. According to the Union for Nature Conservation (Nabu), it is now the second most common species in Germany after the greylag goose. The Canada goose was once released into the wild, partly by mistake, and partly on purpose, according to Naboo. Since then, their stock has continuously increased.
Perhaps also in Gelsenkirchen: WAZ reader Wolf Dieter Kohlmann recently sent a photo to the editors showing about 40 specimens in a city park pond. “Geese have had a lot of offspring again this year, which leads to the safe conclusion that the nests, for example, were not destroyed. But that would have been a very simple measure against further breeding,” says Coleman.
Gelsendienstein also shares Wolf-Dieter Kohlmann’s observation: “According to our observations, the number of animals has increased steadily in recent years. The Canadian geese are the dominant species between the two non-native species, but the Egyptian geese are also appearing more and more often,” says Tobias Hein, a company spokesperson at Gelsendienste. .
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In fact, it is difficult to say how many geese there are in Gelsenkirchen. “It’s hard to get the exact numbers,” explains Detlev Müller, head of the Nature Conservancy. Animals mostly migrate and move from one park to another, from one city to another. “Doing a survey on the size of the total population would be very time-consuming and expensive.”
The basic problem, which affects not only Gelsenkirchen: Canadian geese are comfortable in the company of humans, are accustomed to them, and even intentionally seek closeness. They do well in city facilities, where they find habitats with greater greenery and water. The nearby facilities of Berger, Lohmühlental and Stadtgarten are hotspots in the Mosquito Services area of responsibility.
“Canadian and Egyptian geese have hardly any natural enemies here, so their populations are determined primarily by available habitat, number of nesting sites, and food supply,” explains Tobias Heine.
Keyword of food supply: many feed animals, although in reality this is forbidden and dangerous. Not only for the health of animals – they are herbivores, originally feeding on grass, aquatic or underwater plants – but also for the water quality that suffers from animal faeces and leftover bread or food scraps. “This is a big problem,” says Detlev Müller.
More geese means more damage – and that’s also a problem. “It takes a long time to clean areas contaminated with goose droppings,” explains Tobias Hein. For this reason, only a few sub-areas can be cleaned regularly. Another point: “This year we’ve seen significant damage to summer farming at Berger’s facilities,” says Hein.
The fact that geese destroy carefully planted flowers and plants within a very short period of time is more than just an inconvenience, but it also costs the city money. A means of choice must now address the situation: special plastic mats are placed in the beds. These mats have spikes – they are uncomfortable for animals when walking on them, but do not cause injuries. It is an attempt so far that, if the mats prove themselves, they could also protect the family in other areas of voracious geese.
“We don’t currently see any need for intervention measures for regulation,” says Detlev Müller. He continues: One tries to reduce conflicts and enlighten people. Hunting is not a problem at the moment, not least because hunting is prohibited in quiet areas such as parks.
At the same time, Muller urges composure: “Geese are part of nature” – even if they are not indigenous. “We will monitor developments,” he says. He gives other examples of actions: for example, devaluing breeding and feeding places by allowing meadows to grow. Geese do not like tall grass at all, they are more productive in short grassy areas such as gardens and feel more comfortable there.
Removing the eggs and replacing them with plaster dolls (this has not happened yet) – the head of the Nature Conservancy does not consider this procedure to be a problem at all. “Nest cleaning takes a very long time. You can also see that critically, because it interferes with the reproductive process.”
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