Salisbury Zoo address concerns over ‘goose population management’
SALISBURY, Md. – It’s a post that’s since gone viral. A visitor of the Salisbury zoo posting her most recent experience on Facebook claiming zookeepers had shooed away a male and female goose inside the park. Only to then “kill the geese’s eggs by stabbing them with a pen.”
“We saw them shooing the mother and the father away and then proceeding to poke them with the pin,” said zoo visitor Serena Salerno.
Salerno was one of the many visitors at the zoo who saw the whole thing take place, and says she was extremely disturbed.
“I was yeah, in shock, I was like they’re playing God,” said Salerno.
But zoo officials are clearing the air. In a statement they said they’re “Registered through the USDA and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to engage in nest management on their site.” Maryland Department of Natural Resource officials we spoke with tell 47 maintaining the goose population is critical.
“They can become a nuisance with their droppings on fields and walkways and some agricultural areas they actually do damage to agricultural crops,” said
Game Bird Section Leader for MDNR, Bill Harvey.
Zoo officials add that in prior years, they’ve had aggressive geese harass and intimidate children and families and even steal food intended for their animals.
And they say these non-lethal procedures are put in place to ensure the health and safety of the community.
“You can get a permit to what we call addle the eggs. You can either prick the eggs with a needle or coat the eggs with vegetable oil to keep the eggs from hatching,” Harvey said.
Despite being told the reasoning behind the procedure, Salerno says us she still thinks the zoo is playing God and doesn’t feel as though they should be doing this to these eggs. But the zoo actually had this statement saying they’re “Not ashamed of engaging in an activity that is appropriate and necessary to the zoo’s operation. And they’re always prepared to respond to questions from guests and to explain the reasons for their actions.” Officials also said that it’s regrettable that some people may misunderstand the actions associated with nest management. Which is another reason why they want the procedure take place openly so they can have an opportunity for discussion and explanation. And that hiding it would only make matters worse.