Officials in Montgomery County, Md., have put up fences and attempted to rearrange habitats, but the goose problem in parks there is so bad that they're now resorting to a last-ditch remedy: killing them and donating what's edible to feed the hungry, NBC News reports. Per a press release, up to 300 geese are to be "humanely euthanized" at both Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Park and Rock Creek Regional Park, "processed for human consumption," and the meat given to the Maryland Food Bank, though a Montgomery Parks rep tells Bethesda Magazine the number will probably be more like 100 to 150. "These geese are year-round residents and create multiple issues for park users and staff," David Petersen says. "The excessive feces they leave, up to one pound daily, is not only unsightly but causes unsanitary conditions." He also tells WTOP that geese protective of their offspring have been known to attack people, and that their grazing damages turf and grass.
Petersen says that the gathering of the geese, which will run the parks department about $20 per bird, will take place through the end of June and into mid-July and stresses that it wasn't an easy decision to put the geese down, especially after criticism from the Humane Society. "These roundup and killing programs for geese are not effective because they simply leave open empty attractable habitat, and that habitat will be refilled by geese coming in from nearby areas," a Humane Society director tells Bethesda Magazine. Petersen rebuts that, noting to WTOP that the parks department has been tapping into other, nonlethal methods "for a number of years" and that "all these things have been marginally effective." He also points out it's not an unusual method to get rid of pesky fowl, noting everyone from homeowners associations to federal agencies have gone this route. (PETA claims that live geese are being plucked for their feathers.)