by John Ramos

WALNUT CREEK (KPIX 5) — An East Bay community’s solution to overpopulation of geese – the forced starvation of young goslings or exposure to predators – is creating bad feelings among many of the residents.

At Walnut Creek’s Rossmoor retirement village, the golf course has become a haven for hundreds of Canada geese, which are fun to look at for walkers – not so much for golfers.

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“Many of them don’t care because they hate stepping into poop,” said Rossmoor resident Karen Perkins. “And they hate their golf balls getting into goose poop, right?”

It’s a problem for a lot of Bay Area courses and sports grounds, especially this time of year when the birds settle in to raise their newly-hatched goslings. But while people here may understand the problem, many are very upset by the golf course’s solution.

“They don’t have a chance…and it seems so cruel,” said Rossmoor resident Madeleine Davenport.

Golf course administrators put up a wire fence around the course’s small lake. It is designed to keep the young goslings from getting to the water where they find food and protection from predators. Critics of the fence say it’s been grimly effective, as nature takes its course.

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“There were literally hundreds at one time,” said Perkins. “And now, we counted 22 a few days ago, and now I only see five.”

“Yesterday there were more, there were probably about 20 here,” said resident Linda Ledgerwood. “Most of them didn’t survive the night.”

Opponents have started a petition demanding removal of the fence, although it may already be too late for this generation. Canada geese are protected migratory waterfowl and cannot be directly harmed.

But course managers believe they have a right to put up a fence and if that reduces the population, and the golf course will be better off. The bird lovers say it’s just cruel.

“I don’t know the answers totally, but I do know that this is not it,” said Perkins. “This is not the way you treat any living being, in my opinion.”

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The management at the Rossmoor golf course did not immediately respond to a request for comment.