RSPCA

Feathers Fly in Cambridge Geese Fight

ACTIVISTS targeted Cambridge University after porters used lasers to see off nuisance geese.

The Canada Geese were dive-bombing tourists visiting the historic seat of learning and fouling up manicured green lawns.

King’s College porters use their hand-held laser devices to scare away gaggles of up to 15 birds at a time.

But activist groups said they do not support the method claiming it could be cruel.

Philip Isaac, a bursar who is responsible for co-ordinating events at the college, defended the practice.

He said: “The Canada geese are big bully birds and they have scared off the indigenous birds, so there are none here now. Two years ago we had around 50 geese on the back lawn and the problem was getting out of hand because they were leaving excrement everywhere and attacking members of the public queuing for evensong in the chapel.”

“We used a number of deterrents to drive them away and last year they seemed to find a better spot to go to, but this summer they have returned and are causing a nuisance again. The laser torches seem to be working at the moment and we will also oil the eggs [to prevent the embryos from developing] in the spring to reduce the numbers for next summer.”

But an RSPCA said it objected the methods of the porters.

A spokesman said: “As with humans, we would not support shining a laser directly into an animal’s eye. However, we are aware that the indirect use of lasers to deter problem flocks of birds is one of the non-lethal deterrent methods that is currently being tested by researchers. If that approach is proven to be effective and humane, the RSPCA would certainly welcome it.”

A spokesman for the university added: “The college has used a variety of non-harmful measures to deter the geese, and will continue to do so. There are no plans to cull the geese at this time.”

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