2007_03_geesedog.jpgIf you see some adorable border collies bothering Canada geese in Central Park this April, you may have seen the Geese Police. The Parks Department will be conducting a one-month pilot program "using an environmentally-safe method to attempt to reduce the number of geese in Central Park": Using border collies to drive geese away!

The border collies, part of the Geese Police, Inc (motto: "Call Us to Get the Flock Out"), never touch the geese - they just try to herd them up. The Humane Society and the USDA Office of Wildlife Services approve of using dogs to herd up geese, as well as education (like, don't feed geese, or else they stay), as methods for Canada goose management.

The Geese Police FAQ is awesome:

Q: Why can't I use my dog (or other breed?)
A: We only use working Border Collies because it is the only dog breed among other herding dogs that use a wolf-like glance called the ``eye". This intense stare influences the flock into flight or movement. The geese perceive this stalking manner as predatory behavior and threatening. But actually, the geese are never touched and are perfectly safe. In fact, all other dogs are perceived as nuisance or just not predatory.

Q: Do you harass the goslings (baby geese)?
A: We don't really harass the goslings. We harass their parents. Our harassment techniques are approved by USDA Wildlife Service and US Fish and Wildlife. In addition, the Humane Society and PETA (People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals) endorse these techniques.

Q: Where do the geese flock to after being harassed from my site?
A: Somewhere where they are not bothered because geese are lazy animals and don't like to move repeatedly.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said, "As with all wildlife that inhabit or migrate through City parkland, Canada geese area protected from hunting and attack by humans. But their increasing presence on lawns and meadows can damage lawns and leaves them fouled by droppings. Their increased presence also poses environmental problems due to the high levels of nitrogen in geese droppings."

Not only do geese droppings in bodies of water change the water chemistry, geese overgraze in certain other areas. And if there's one thing the park loves, it's its expensive lawn.