Anchorage goose controls apparently succeeding

Posted: Friday, September 06, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Efforts to reduce the number of Canada geese in Anchorage have succeeded, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Biologists estimate the Anchorage goose population is now 1,508, a big decline from its peak of 4,838 back in July 1996, and below the biologists' goal of 2000 geese.

''This may be the only place in North America where agencies have reduced numbers of urban geese to a socially acceptable level with very little controversy,'' said Rick Sinnott, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The slimming of the Anchorage goose population took on urgency when an Air Force AWACS plane crashed in 1995 after hitting several geese. The crash killed all 24 on the plane.

But in 1997, the flock still produced 793 goslings. That number was cut to jsut 213 new geese this year, biologists said.

Part of the reduction came because of a program allowing volunteers to collect as many as 500 eggs each year. The eggs were donated to the Alaska Native Elders program.

Control measures also included moving young geese to the Susitna Flats State Game Refuge.

In addition, a 1998 working group recommended that airports start shooting geese around the runways, rather than just hazing them.

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