For many years, Canada geese have been a familiar sight around the pond at Johnston Community College in Smithfield. Many of them are now gone.
At the request of Johnston Community College, the US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Service responded to the campus on June 15th, capturing and killing 46 Canada geese. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a permit for the capture and removal.
Carrie Pitts-Densmore, the Senior Director of Communications and Marketing at Johnston Community College issued a statement saying, “The college has made efforts in the past to move the geese away from areas of campus where they were threatening to faculty, staff, students, and children at our Development Center. Those efforts have not been successful and several people have been attacked over the years. We recently contracted with the USDA to manage the geese population.”
“Forty-six geese were captured and removed to address damage caused by goose droppings and overgrazing of vegetation which is common in situations where local populations are overabundant. Previous work by the property owner/manager to address the damage using nonlethal damage management techniques had been unsuccessful,” according to Gail Kiern, Legislative and Public Affairs spokesperson for the USDA Natural Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, Colorado.
“This work was done at the request of the property owner/manager and under a permit provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The geese were euthanized and their carcasses donated to a local wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center to help feed captive animals,” Kiern said.
JCC officials said previous efforts to remove the geese from the campus and pond area haven’t worked and they were a continued threat to children and adults. They also said several people had been attacked by geese in recent years.
The geese, especially males, are known to attack humans if they get too close to their mates or eggs. They can also bite or strike someone with their wings.
Some people reached out to Johnston County Report wanting to know why the geese were not captured and relocated elsewhere, including the college-owned Howell Woods Learning Center outside of Four Oaks.
Kiern, the USDA spokesperson said, “The NC Wildlife Resources Commission does not allow for the relocation of Canada geese in the state.”
The Canada geese were euthanized using carbon dioxide gas through methods approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association.