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Plan Would Control Geese, Help Feed Hungry Families

DENVER (CBS4)- Visitors to parks in Denver can't miss them. The Canada Geese. There's no shortage of them. Now there's a plan to help control the flock from growing.

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"We've built beautiful parks that are great for people, but also great for geese," said City and County of Denver Parks Deputy Manager Scott Gilmore.

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While the Canada goose population was once so low they are still a protected bird, they have made an epic comeback, which is bad for Denver parks.

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"Geese poop in our parks is one of the biggest complaints we have," said Gilmore. "It has gotten to the point where the parks are almost unenjoyable for a lot of people."

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The USDA and Denver Parks and Recreation are now working together to cull the geese. That means the USDA is rounding up as many as 2,200 geese and taking them to be processed so the meat can be donated to families in need. It's a way to protect the parks from overpopulation and do something positive for people.

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"This program isn't just about keeping poop off our grass, it's actually about improving the habitat of our parks," said Gilmore.

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The city has tried many different methods to control the population, including hazing them with the "Goosenator" and coating their eggs with cooking oil so the eggs can't be fertilized.

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Unfortunately, the goose boom isn't slowing down.

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"We've been doing those things for the past eight years… a lot of it and we add 1,000+ eggs a year. And so we're doing that and the population is still growing," said Gilmore.

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This is the first year the city has tried the culling method, but a similar program has been in New York City for years. The USDA says the meat is safe to eat and the city says that if they have to euthanize geese they are glad it is serving a greater good.

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"We did not want them to end up in a landfill. Legally they can do that, but we would not have moved forward with this project without finding a solution to where those birds were going to go," said Gilmore.

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The program started two weeks ago and so far, the USDA has been to Washington Park, but they could go to any park in the city of Denver to collect the birds.

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