March 2, 2009

Toronto beaches a giant toilet for geese

Dogs are now banned from Toronto's Lake Ontario beaches but there remains a persistent problem of some 3,000 Canada geese defecating every few minutes.

Carol Guy of the City of Toronto's Waterfowl Management Program said the recent ban of dogs is a small step toward reducing E. coli contamination along some 30 miles of the lakefront but the stubborn goose population that doesn't migrate south for the winter is still a headache, the Toronto Sun reported.

Each bird defecates every 6 minutes and that is approximately ... 1 pound of goose poo every day, Guy said. You multiply that by 3,000 and it's a considerable impact.

The city has a program in which workers coat goose eggs with mineral oil to prevent them from hatching but Environment Canada waterfowl biologist Jack Hughes said it's a losing battle.

They're definitely increasing, he told the Sun. We've estimated presently that they're increasing at about 8 percent per year.

Some 1,300 geese were captured, caged and relocated by trucks from city parks last year, and the city also pays a woman with four trained dogs to herd the flocks away from beaches, the report said.