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Denver Parks and Rec administrator being threatened over plans to cull goose population

Vegan group posts Deputy Director's number online
Posted at 5:38 PM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 20:47:43-04

DENVER -- Plans to cull another 400 to 500 geese from Denver's parks are raising concerns in the vegan community.

Opponents posted Deputy Executive Director Scott Gilmore's name and phone number online, the calls began pouring in. Some with threats.

One caller left a message saying, "You have no reason to kill the geese other than you’re a bunch of (expletive, expletive, expletive) that don’t want to pick up the poop."

That caller went on to wish the team ill.

"I hope and pray whoever kills one of those geese, the workers that do that, I hope and pray they get the virus and they die and their whole family dies."

Last year, Denver killed 1,600 geese and gave the meat to a local food pantry.

It was a controversial then, and it's controversial, among some people, again this year.

Gilmore said this year's operation will be much smaller, but still necessary.

"I'm not trying to remove all the geese," he said, "just trying to keep the numbers down to a manageable number."

"We have tried incredibly hard to use non-lethal methods -- hazing, egg oiling, habitat modification and the things people say we should be doing, we are trying," he said.

But it hasn't been enough. Many people are still unable to go to their parks and "roll around in the grass," he said.

Culling opponents suggest the city pick up the goose droppings.

Gilmore said that's not feasible.

He said each goose in the city produces about a pound of waste a day.

"It's hard enough for people to pick up dog poop and then they're talking about picking up poop from 5,000 geese that are just walking around the city? It's not going to happen."

He said you can't compost it, and there's no place to put it.

2020 Culling Operation:

  • 50 geese from Garfield Park
  • 50 from Harvey Park
  • 100 from Sloan Lake Park
  • 30 from Barnum Park
  • 25 from Garland Park
  • 100 from City Park Golf Course

Denver7 interviewed Gilmore near Parkfield Lake, in Montbello, which he says has one of the most diverse habitats in Denver.

When asked about the vegan's claims that he should be protecting geese, he replied, "I'm a wildlife biologist and what I'm working for is this."

He then pointed toward the tall native grass and mixture of trees and said, "I'm not managing for one species. I want to manage so the whole park benefits for the people of the city."

As for the threats, Mr. Gilmore told Denver7 he is reaching out to everyone who has left a message.

He said he explains that he's a biologist and that he's trying to create a better, more diverse habitat for all species.

He said most end up understanding where he's coming from, even if they don't always agree.