Federal agents kill 750 geese from Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge near JFK airport

Activist David Karopkin took this photo of a geese family at Jamaica Bay Refuge in May of this year.

They’re back.

Agents with the U.S. Department of Agriculture removed more than 700 Canada geese from Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Monday morning, at the prodding of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

In the hours between 7 a.m. and noon, 711 of the birds, including possibly goslings, were rounded up and put into crates, said Carol Bannerman, with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a division within the USDA.

They were then drive to a meat processing plant in upstate New York, where the geese will be killed and their meat will be given to food banks upstate, Bannerman told Metro. In the past carbon dioxide has been used to gas the geese to death.

The more than 700 geese rounded up today comes after USDA agents removed 40 geese from a landfill near John F. Kennedy airport two weeks ago, said Bannerman. In total, 751 geese have been removed from area around JFK in the past two weeks.

That leaves only about 750 Canada geese remaining in the federally protected preserve. Before the round-up, there were 1,500 geese in the park, said Gateway National Recreation area spokesman John Warren.

According to Warren, the feds originally called for killing up to 1,000 geese in the park. But molting season ended before that many could be taken, he said.

Bannerman told Metro there will be no more further cullings planned for this summer.

But today’s surprise killing shocked and outraged many New Yorkers.

“I was sick to my stomach,” said Brooklynite David Karopkin when he heard of the killings yesterday. Karopkin, 27, runs GooseWatch NYC, which seeks to monitor and record the controversial cullings of geese in the metro area. “New Yorkers have been kept in the dark about what’s going on. These operations are done with no transparency, no public approval — for the most part we’re told after the fact.”

“It’s really a disgrace and a shock that New York City’s only wildlife and bird sanctuary has been opened up to a wildlife slaughter for no good reason,” Edita Birnkrant, the New York director of Friends of Animals, said. “I’m in utter disbelief at the stupidity of some of the people in office.”

Gillibrand has been pushing for more than three years to allow agents into the Jamaica Preserve, a 9,000-acre estuary and bird sanctuary that surrounds JFK’s runways. The birds are a hazard to planes taking off from JFK and LaGuardia airports, she and others argue.

Just this past April, a Delta jet hit geese when it took off from JFK. The cabin filled with smoke, but the plane made a safe emergency landing.

Gillibrand specifically wanted the geese culled before the end of their June and July molting phase, when the adult birds and goslings cannot fly and can be easily rounded up.

Geese-plane strikes

The USDA first started removing geese from the NYC area in July of 2004. In the five years before that, there were nine bird strikes on planes at LaGuardia, said Carol Bannerman.

In the five years after 2004, to July of 2009, there have been three bird strikes.

The most famous of which is when geese brought down the “Miracle on the Hudson” flight in January of 2009.

But according to Karopkin, the geese that brought down that flight were migrating from Canada, and did not nest in the metro area.

“So even if you killed every animal in New York City you would not have prevented that crash,” he said.

A history of cullings

Number of geese removed from around the city:
 
2009    1,276 geese removed and killed
2010    1,676 geese removed and killed
2011     575 geese removed and killed
2012    751 killed so far this year

Source: USDA


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.