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New York to cull geese around airports

by Staff Writers
New York (AFP) June 11, 2009
Some 2,000 wild geese are to be killed around New York's main airports as part of measures to reduce the numbers of the birds that brought down an Airbus in January, officials announced Thursday.

The plan entails the capture and culling of up to 2,000 Canada geese on city-owned property within five miles (eight kilometers) of JFK and LaGuardia Airports, the mayor's office, the Port Authority, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

Other measures include signposts in parks forbidding the feeding of geese, and steps to dissuade the birds from gathering on Rikers Island, which houses a prison and is less than one mile (1.6 kilometers) from a LaGuardia runway.

The offensive follows the crash of a US Airways Airbus after it lost power in both engines due to collision with a huge flock of geese. The pilot managed against the odds to safely land the powerless plane on the Hudson River.

"The serious dangers that Canada geese pose to aviation became all too clear when geese struck US Airways Flight 1549," Bloomberg said.

"The incident served as a catalyst to strengthen our efforts in removing geese from, and discouraging them from nesting on, city property near our runways."

Jason Post, a spokesman for Bloomberg, told AFP that the geese would be killed "humanely."

"They have a method of herding them into a spot to where they're then transported and then humanely euthanized in a manner approved of by the American Veterinary Association."

There have been 77 goose-aircraft collisions in New York in the last 10 years, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), although January's incident was especially serious.

State environment officials estimate there to be 20,000 to 25,000 resident Canada geese in the New York city area.

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