Canada Geese

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 14th June 2005.

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Photo of Gordon Prentice Gordon Prentice Labour, Pendle

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the impact of Canada geeseon (a) the environment and (b) other forms of wildlife.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity)

Canada geese were introduced to this country to add interest to parks and are another example of unwise introductions. They are large aggressive birds, now resident and breeding in Britain. The population estimate is 96,000 in England, with a suggested annual increase in population of 10 per cent. Its size and aggressive nature enables it to dominate other native species in terms of feeding and nest site selection, which can result in other species being unable to breed. There are also reports that breeding success of other birds is affected by trampling of nests, eggs and young. The Canada goose can also interbreed with other goose species, resulting in hybrids.

Large congregations of Canada geese in parks can lead to local problems of bank erosion, fouling and intimidation of other park users, both human and wildlife.

Being resident, Canada geese may extend the period during which damage to agricultural crops may occur which can lead to conflict with farmers.

The Canada goose is not a rare species, and the numbers in England are not significant in terms of the world population.

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