Snow Goose Overpopulation

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The Overpopulation of the Snow Goose in North America
The purpose of this paper is to explore available research on the overpopulation of the Snow Goose on the North American continent. The snow goose has been rising in population since the middle of the century and has been escalating so much it is destroying their natural habitat. Wildlife managers have just recently begun to implement strategies to combat this problem. Mainly through the use of hunters the managers are trying to curb the population growth.
There are three main species of Snow Goose of primary concern. The Lesser Snow Goose (LSGO) is the must abundant and at the same time most troublesome. Ross’ Goose (ROGO) is very similar to the Lesser and can only be distinguished by close observation. Both the Lesser and the Ross nest in salt marshes along Hudson Bay and then migrate down to the gulf coast states such as Texas and Louisiana. Their populations number in the millions. The third sub species is the Greater Snow Goose. They nest in the same marshes as the others except they migrate down the Atlantic Coast into the Carolinas and that vicinity. All three species have exploded in numbers since the 1950’s. Researchers have done a lot of study on the numbers and the degradation but may need to do more studies on the impact to other species and look for other options to control the populations.
Population Trends
The numbers of all "light" colored geese has been on the rise since data was first collected. The Lesser Snow Goose (LSGO) has drastically increased in number since data was first taken. Numbers range from around 800,000 in 1969 to as many as 6 million in 1996 (CWS 1999). While the Greater Snow Goose (GSGO) has risen in numbers from a few thousand to almost 500,000 (CWS 1999). This brief article did not provide much insight into actual numbers. Abraham and Jeffries in their report dig deeper and provide more significant and detailed population counts. Their numbers add in the Mid-winter index, which is the number of geese counted during mid-winter and referred to as MWI. Their numbers also have a count for Ross’ Goose (ROGO) which primarily flies with the (LSGO) and is very hard to distinguish (Abraham and Jeffries 1998). They too suggest the LSGO population to be aro...

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...s will need to kill over 900,000 geese a year for over a decade to make any kind of dent in the population (Hodge 1999). Some are skeptical that hunters can take that many birds to begin with, let alone the fact that to many that seems like a merciless slaughter of innocent animals.
It appears that one thing is very clear… there is an overpopulation of Snow Geese on the North American Continent. The situation is almost out of hand and something needs to be done fast. Although there has enough research on the fact that there are simply to many geese there really has not been enough on the impacts to other species, and what is the best way to take care of the problem. Both the US and the Canadian government seem to be on the right path to controlling this problem that humans have created. But more needs to be done. There just simply isn’t enough hunters around to take the proper amount of birds in a sporting manner. Wildlife managers are going to have to step in and take more radical measure to control this before its too late and we have lost all the habitat for the geese and all other habitants of the salt marshes of the Hudson Bay area.

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