Canada geese should be treated as native species, writes Ursula Lowrey. Black Press file photo

Canada geese should be treated as native species, writes Ursula Lowrey. Black Press file photo

LETTER: Canada geese are native to B.C.

From reader Ursula Lowrey

Re: Rambo Bob and the Goose Trustee, Aug. 18

I would like to thank Donna Macdonald on her historical perspective of the Canada geese on Nelson’s waterfront. However, she seems to have adopted the widespread misconception that Canada geese are not native to southern British Columbia, and thus justify their persecution as non-native or introduced.

The Canada goose Branta canadensis has a historical range from Canada’s arctic islands and western Alaska through North America to northern Mexico. In the 1900s they were hunted to near extinction in many places as well as extirpated by the use of pesticides. Small re-introductions were then made at the south end of Vancouver Island and other locations.

Canada geese are geographically highly variable in colour and size, so there has been a lot of debate in the scientific community regarding the number of subspecies or races. Sometimes the re-introductions were subspecies or races from elsewhere on the continent, and this might lead to the assumption that they should not be here. The lessening of hunting pressure and creation of food sources such as lawns and grain fields has greatly benefited Canada geese in recent decades so their populations have grown.

We do need to consider airplane safety and our landscaping aesthetics, but the problem is us, not the geese. They have always been here and now they are adapting to a human modified landscape much better than we would like.

Ursula Lowrey

Nelson