Synopsis: Agents of the USDA, acting on the belief that the Canada Geese in Prospect Park were a threat to the safety of planes landing and taking off at New York City area airports, surreptitiously swept into Prospect Park July 8 SWAT style and gassed all the geese they could find. It was later discovered that one family of swans survived after area residents and animal rights advocates discovered the killings.


Swan family that survived the July gassing.The male is named Jaws, the female is Sedna. Picture by Anne-Katrin Titze.

Outraged Brooklyn residents like Anne-Katrin Titze, who teaches at Hunter, and her partner, Ed Bahlman, rallied at City Hall August 12. Subsequently, it was found that legions of geese had descended on the lagoon in Prospect Park, causing, Titze told TV Station WPIX, and, also according to other news sources, a hazardous situation just as serious as the one the USDA thought it was remedying by gassing the birds earlier in the summer. Thus, for now, no more geese are to be killed in the Prospect Park Lake this year. And there are more than 130 of the birds in the Park now.

Background News and Information
Statement Read by Anne-Katrin Titze at the City Hall Rally, Thursday, August 12

On the morning of July 8, 2010 Brooklyn’s Prospect Park was turned into a slaughterhouse. Two-hundred-fifty to 300 resident Canada Geese were taken out of their beds – rounded up, crated and put to sleep – PERMANENTLY.

Forty-one goslings (baby geese) with their parents were removed from the park to never be heard from again and, yet, our air safety was not improved one bit. The unnecessary loss of life at Prospect Park is an abuse of animals on a large scale by those who made the decision to move forward.

Mayor Bloomberg, we do not want another massacre of innocent resident Canada Geese in our city. Please call off the assassins.

City Hall Rally August 12

Three-hundred gathered inside the gates of City Hall; hundreds more watched from outside, according to Anne-Katrin Titze. Photo by Bob Ipcar.

I do not believe that Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe understands how serious the breach of trust with the public is when he continues to remain silent. The USDA claims they were invited in to put to death the resident Canada Geese by those in charge. Who had the power to authorize these killings and who had the conscience to object?

The Parks Department owns Prospect Park and the Prospect Park Alliance runs it.

The Prospect Park Alliance’s president Tupper Thomas called the killings of the resident Canada Geese an act of euthanasia. Today, I am asking her if she still believes this to be true.

It all started with the grand attempt at a cover up. On July 7th at 7 a.m. there were 250-300 resident molting Canada Geese resting comfortably around Prospect Park Lake with 41 baby geese sleeping peacefully next to them. On July 8th at 7 a.m. all the resident Canada geese, including the 41 goslings, were gone.

We immediately suspected the worst.

When we alerted the media, no one believed something like what had occurred could happen. I compiled the statistics of record for the resident waterfowl of Prospect Park. There were 235 resident Canada Geese at Prospect Park Lake, along with 312 Mallard Ducks. The Prospect Park Alliance knew from my official NY State DEC count on January 17, 2010 that what was going to be killed in Prospect Park on July 8 could only be resident geese and their newly-born young. There was no confusion possible on this point.

Despite this knowledge, Ed and I were told by the media, we had to find the proverbial smoking gun before they would move forward with the story. For five days the media as well as park visitors were told different cover-up stories by different sources working in and for the park. When concerned park visitors inquired: “Where are the geese?” or “What Happened to them?” there were a number of implausible responses.

One response was: All the geese flew to Jamaica Bay – including, the goslings born the previous week. We were supposed to believe they had now grown flight feathers overnight.

Another response was: The geese are all still here, they are just hiding from the heat. Hiding from the heat? – Now we know, they were already buried in a landfill.

Anne-Katrin Titze

Anne-Katrin Titze being interviewed by WPIX after the August rally.

It took our discovery of these zip ties in a strange pattern of gosling feathers forgotten lakeside for the press to move forward. The location turned out to be a gathering area where the USDA set up holding pens for the removal. This vital new information caused the New York Times to call the USDA on Monday, July 12, five days after our initial alert. It was then, the USDA admitted to killing the resident Canada Geese of Prospect Park.

The children who came with their parents to the lake on the weekend following the removal were stunned to not see the familial geese. What kind of message are these children getting?

The future protection of the wildlife and their habitat in a city park is at stake here. Wildlife is not an abstract. How can you teach your children respect for the living creatures they share the world with, when actions like the slaughter of their goose friends are being excused away?

Alliance president Tupper Thomas stated on July 16 that she was going to organize a Wildlife Management Task Force. I, as a wildlife rescuer and soon to be Wildlife Rehabilitator, do care passionately about Prospect Park and its environment.

Tupper Thomas, I’m your man, consider me for a position on your Task Force and start rebuilding the trust that has been lost. The Parks department and the Prospect Park Alliance have acted not in the best interests of this beautiful and dynamic city we love so much.

Mayor Bloomberg, I want to propose to you: There is only one family left at Prospect Park Lake following the July 8th slaughter of innocent Canada Geese. A family of swans with four baby swans born on May 21st.

Your Honor, I am asking you as Mayor to adopt this family of swans and give them the full protection of your office.

Other News Sources
Legions of death-defying geese show up at the scene of the crime – New York Times.
New York Post’s Andrea Peyser: The Geese Must Die.
Here is the Link: WPIX story with interview of Titze.
OUTRAGE! Park lovers furious over goose slaughter – The Brooklyn Newspaper

Anne-Katrin Titze is a wildlife rescuer and soon to be certified Wildlife Rehabilitator by New York State Department of Conservation, who cares for the health and safety of the urban park environment. She teaches literature at Hunter and has been a lecturer at Fordham University. She also curates film programs and lecture seminars. This fall, she is to co-found a fashion seminar at the CUNY Graduate Center.