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Have a gander at this

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 08:11 02/11/2012
Mother goose
JAY BOREHAM

LOOK LEFT: A mother goose gives her brood some tips on crossing Wattle Farm Rd.

Mother goose
FLUFFY TROUBLE: Wattle Farm Reserve is now bursting with fluffy goslings which have no knowledge of road crossing etiquette.

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A population explosion has swelled the ranks of problem geese at Wattle Downs and created even more traffic chaos for residents.

Auckland Council has been working to remove Wattle Farm Reserve's embden geese since May after complaints from residents about gangs of birds holding up traffic and creating a mess in the parks.

Geese then numbered more than 70 but publicity did lead to an increase in poaching incidents, a council spokesman says.

Now the addition of a big bunch of fluffy new goslings means even more are stopping traffic and fouling the parks.

The council's biosecurity team is back on the job and looking to find new homes for the geese and their offspring, the spokesman says.

"The team is currently assessing the different options available in order to find the best means of rehoming them and to where," he says.

Initial advice saw the council trying to rehome a core group of 50 to 60 together by the end of June.

Geese mate for life and stay together as a tight-knit family group so council staff say it's important to rehome the families together.

But that proved problematic so the staff are now looking to switch to plan B and split the families up, Wattle Downs Residents and Ratepayers chairwoman Tina Steunebrink says.

The problem of the geese crossing the road en masse has grown as the birds have multiplied, she says.

"It's crazy; I saw 10 cars yesterday all backed up."

Admittedly most of the drivers were smiling at the birds, she says.

Residents have also looked at finding a safer habitat for the birds away from the busy roads, Mrs Steunebrink says.

The North Shore sewerage pond was seen as an option because it already has an existing gaggle of geese.

But the birds at Wattle Downs are classed as domestic animals so the move would be considered as dumping, she says.

Abandoning an animal is illegal under the Animal Welfare Act.

Offenders can be fined up to $50,000 or face a 12-month prison term - or both.

"So we are caught between a rock and a hard place," she says.

Mrs Steunebrink says the person who introduced the geese to the park "back in the day" has a lot to answer for.

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- Manukau Courier

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