NJ Town Draws Criticism With Plan to Euthanize Geese

by Staff

A New Jersey town has voted to tackle the Canada geese overpopulation through a controversial method—euthanizing them en masse using carbon dioxide. 

In March, members of the Peapack and Gladstone Borough Council made the decision to engage the services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Wildlife Services for the culling operation. The initiative is scheduled for early summer, coinciding with the molting period when the geese are unable to fly away.

While this approach is endorsed by the USDA, it has faced criticism from animal rights activists who deem it cruel and inhumane.

Elected officials in Peapack and Gladstone, in a joint statement, characterized the goose population in a local park as an “infestation” that has been a source of inconvenience for residents for the past two decades.

Similar methods have been employed in other New Jersey towns in the past. Spring Lake implemented this strategy in 2022, while Edgewater officials did so in 2016.

Peapack-Gladstone officials emphasized that they had exhausted all reasonable and humane efforts to deter the geese from the park, which they described as a man-made development incapable of supporting a large goose population safely and enjoyably for residents.

The issue extends beyond mere inconvenience, as Canada geese are prolific droppers, with each goose depositing up to one and a half pounds of feces daily. This fecal matter is not only unsightly but also poses health and environmental risks, containing harmful bacteria and contributing to nutrient imbalances in waterways.

Recognizing the overpopulation problem, officials intend to employ non-lethal deterrents to prevent new geese from inhabiting the area.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey’s resident Canada goose population was estimated at 63,485 birds in 2023. The DEP attributes the high numbers partly to human activities, such as feeding the birds, which concentrate them in areas frequented by people, increasing the risk of disease transmission.

In response to the borough’s decision, a group called “Save the Liberty Park Canada Geese in Peapack-Gladstone” staged a protest at the park late last month. 

We want to know what you think. Is this an appropriate response to NJ’s geese overpopulation problem? Let us know in the comments below. 

About the Author/s

All posts

The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

Related Articles


Jay Gee May 15, 2024 - 11:35 am

If you are going to kill them i would investigate if and how it were possible to provide food for people. Goose and fois gras are good food. It would help feed the hungry and poor who cannot easily afford protein if it works.

MERRITT CLIFTON May 15, 2024 - 1:16 pm

Historically, urban & suburban goose problems arose from three sources. First were the efforts of state & federal wildlife agencies, beginning in 1936, to build huntable Canada goose populations in proximity to urban areas by introducing non-migratory Canada geese formerly bred for use as live decoys. Some of these introductions continued into the 1990s. Second was the fur trapping boom of the 1960s-1970s, which drastically diminished the populations of most wildlife predators of Canada geese. Then came the mid-Atlantic raccoon rabies pandemic of 1976-1993, which took out much of the population of the major nest predators of Canada geese. Raccoon populations have rebounded, but most of the places now complaining about Canada geese either lost their raccoons then & never got them back, or have actively discouraged raccoons in proximity to Canada goose nesting, foraging, & sleeping habitat (seldom realizing, though, that persecuting raccoons (and to a lesser extent, coyotes, bobcats and foxes) for whatever reason is also encouraging Canada geese. The habits and size of nonmigratory Canada geese are maladaptive where their predators are allowed to exist, & the predators will control goose numbers if allowed to do so.

Ralph Napoli May 17, 2024 - 10:13 pm

What the hell is wrong with you people,over population there has to be a better way,or the only h word I said above is where your going.Destructive species.sad😭make you mad😠


Leave a Comment

Yes, I would like to receive emails from The Digest Online. Sign me up!

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: New Jersey Digest. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact