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Federal agents slaughtered more than 250 geese and dozens of their babies in Prospect Park after corralling the adults and their young into a small pen early Thursday morning, boxing them up, and tossing them in a gas chamber.
The horror-movie-style measure was part of the city’s ongoing effort to exterminate the feathered creatures within a seven-mile radius from both LaGuardia and JFK airports — a radius that was expanded last year to include Prospect Park, putting all its birds in the path of a federally mandated massacre.
Carol Bannerman, a Department of Agriculture spokeswoman, confirmed the grim reaping that federal Wildlife Services staff executed on the fateful morning of July 8.
“Free-ranging waterfowl like this can be gently herded, then individually picked out, put into crates, moved into a nearby location and euthanized using carbon dioxide,” Bannerman said.
“Is this a difficult decision? The answer is yes,” she added. “But if you have to make the choice between a plane of people and that same number of birds, it’s easier to see the answer.”
She said that the geese were buried, but would not reveal the location of the feathery mass grave.
“In other states [the goose meat] can be donated to food pantries, but that process hasn’t been set up in New York State,” Bannerman noted.
Among the dead include such avian celebrities as Beaky, the adored and deformed goose that was missing the top part of its beak after surviving an encounter with a fish hook; and Target, the resilient goose who not only survived being shot through with an arrow, but mesmerized the borough for days.
Park-goers were crying fowl over the weekend, when several bird lovers gave The Brooklyn Paper a tour of the crime scene, a mysterious, feather-covered area where the birds had apparently been corralled. Plastic handcuff-like ties were also littering the site.
“It’s like a crime scene that they forgot to clean up,” said Ed Bahlman, a regular park watchdog.
The birds entered the city’s crosshairs after Capt. Sully Sullenberger pulled off the “Miracle on the Hudson” and landed an airplane in the Hudson River after flying into a flock of geese.
This latest episode likely means that the mysterious animal-related violence in Prospect Park has reached its nadir.
First, gory piles of animal entrails were found by the lake. Then, dozens of chicken heads were dumped in the water. As the weather heated up, dead animals began appearing in startling numbers. Around that time, park-goers mourned the death of John Boy, one of the park’s beloved swans.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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