⚫NJ airport battles geese flocks

⚫Animal rights activists upset about goose kills

⚫Bird strikes on planes a safety threat

A lethal process for culling Canada geese around New Jersey has been the focus of recent grassroots protesters — who have planned to demonstrate at an airport.

Teterboro Airport has been “gassing” geese with carbon dioxide under an ongoing contract with the USDA-Wildlife Services, which the Animal Protection League of New Jersey wants to see ended.

The practice of removing geese takes on an element of urgency when dealing with planes, according to the airport’s operators.

“Safety is our top priority, both for travelers and the communities that surround our airports,” Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesperson Cheryl Albiez said in a statement to New Jersey 101.5.

She continued, “Wildlife can unfortunately pose a danger to planes and passengers, which is why we work diligently to implement mitigation plans and risk-management strategies that minimize the possibility of severe and highly damaging bird strikes, such as the kind that disabled Flight 1549.”

That flight — dubbed The Miracle on the Hudson — was the U.S. Airways plane struck by a flock of Canada geese shortly after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in January 2009.

Despite wrecked engines, all humans aboard the plane survived as it made an emergency landing in the Hudson River.

Teterboro Airport, Canada Goose (Google Maps, Canva)
Teterboro Airport, Canada Goose (Google Maps, Canva)

Alternatives to geese gassing

APLNJ has repeatedly slammed “ inhumane” methods of killing geese, and has planned a Saturday protest outside Teterboro Airport.

The group has said that 827 geese were killed on Teterboro Airport grounds in 2022, alone.

Earlier that same year, an unknown "medium bird" struck a Learjet as it was taking off at Teterboro on Jan. 4, 2022, doing over $100,000 in damages to one of the aircraft wings and fuselage, according to a Federal Aviation Administration report on wildlife strikes.

(credit: Federal Aviation Administration, Canva)

Instead of killing geese, the demonstrators would encourage the use of “Robin Radar and Flight Turf” as effective, nonlethal solutions for driving them away, according to an online listing for the protest.

Robin Radar Systems is a Netherlands-based radar system for tracking and classification of both birds and drones, according to its website.

Flight Turf is a live turfgrass technology that can reduce wildlife presence at airfields, according to that company’s website.

The Port Authority already does use other wildlife hazard management efforts — to reduce bird habitats in the airport’s area, limit standing water and minimize food sources.

Teterboro Airport (Google Maps)
Teterboro Airport (Google Maps)

Teterboro is the oldest operating airport in the NY-NJ metro area, with roots as early as 1919.

The property spans 827 acres — 90 acres for aircraft hangars, maintenance and office facilities, 408 for "aeronautical use" and 329 acres undeveloped.

“Although there are several non-lethal initiatives taken to mitigate risk that wildlife, such as geese, pose, it does not address the overpopulation of resident Canada geese and pushes them to the communities surrounding our airports,” the Port Authority spokesperson continued.

“We adhere to all best management practices recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to significantly reduce the risk of wildlife strikes in the approach and departure airspace of our airports.”

Larger bird species such as Canada geese and mute swans and any species that flock are among the greatest potential threats for a plane strike.

The more birds, the bigger the hazard becomes.

A Facebook event for Saturday’s afternoon protest had five people planning to attend, with another 10 “interested” as of Thursday.

Earlier this season, the same animal rights group supported efforts to try and stall a similar contract in Peapack-Gladstone, where geese have become a problem at one local park.

Some vocal opposition at municipal meetings prompted officials there to agree to try using drones and a different deterrent spray, before carrying out any lethal remediation of geese.

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