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Last week, Tasha Saunders, Mayor of Lydney in Gloucestershire, claims she woke up to death threats at two o’clock in the morning, after town councillors voted to reduce the number of birds at a local lake. The issue arose after reports emerged that the geese were causing disturbances to other wildlife in the area, as well as residents and sports clubs. 

According to Gloucestershire Live, Canada geese in the area are fighting amongst themselves and driving away swans, mallard ducks and other species – and bird droppings have caused disruption for sports clubs.

Lydney Recreation Trust, of which Lydney Town Council is the sole trustee, is yet to decide how it tackles the problem.

Mayor Saunders says the trustees will be considering their options this week and a long-term non-lethal programme is understood to be among what will be considered. She said a cull would have been an option of last resort to manage the hundreds of Canada geese at the lake.

“It’s all been blown out of proportion. It’s been portrayed as a cull,” she said. “The word cull never came into it. All we voted for was to manage and control the numbers of geese. That’s so we bring all our wildlife back and we get a better ecological balance, improve the water quality which helps the fish, the sports facilities.

“There are other options and that is what we will be discussing. The word cull is such a horrible word and you immediately think they’re killing everything. And some councillors think the council was culling all the geese. A cull was given to us as an option but that is not necessarily what we are doing. That might have had to have been our very last resort. But there are other options.”

She said there are around 30 geese at the lake at the moment but there are usually around 200. Lydney Recreation Trust is set to consider their options at a meeting today, on August 9.

“We’ve got a good balanced option to be put on the table and hopefully all will be revealed on Wednesday,” Mayor Saunders added. “It’s not a quick fix, it’s a long-term programme and it won’t get better for a while. We are considering a non-lethal option.

“People think there’s been a cull, but there hasn’t. They’ve just moved on to the farmers’ fields at the moment. They do this every year, they move on a little bit and then they come back.

“We’ve got to bring the diversity back. We’ve got fewer species coming back to the lake now. Our swans are rarely seen anymore because they are being attacked by the geese. And we’ve got to stop people from feeding the geese.

“We know there are 30 around at the moment, as of last week, but there were more. In the middle of the hatching season there’s about 200. Each year since lockdown we’ve noticed they have doubled year on year.”

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