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Hundreds of goose eggs tampered with by council workers in Sandwell parks

Sandwell | News | Published:

Council workers tampered with more than 250 goose eggs last year as part of controversial measures to control the population of the birds at Sandwell parks and beauty spots, it has been revealed.

Sandwell Council came under fire for culling Canada geese in an effort to reduce numbers.

Bosses agreed to end the cull following a huge backlash from campaigners but have said they will continue with other methods such as pricking and oiling eggs.

The authority became embroiled in a storm when it emerged 220 geese from Tipton's Victoria Park and Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich were killed over a two-year period.

A Freedom of Information request has now revealed 189 eggs were pricked and another 80 oiled during 2016.

Pricking eggs involves using a pin or needle to make a hole in the shell of the egg, while oiling eggs sees them coated with liquid paraffin. Both measures prevent the development of the bird embryo.

Council chiefs have insisted tampering with some eggs is necessary to prevent the Canada goose population becoming out of control at Sandwell parks.

Ian Carroll, who has campaigned against the council's previous actions to control the number of geese, said: "It's preferable to rounding up adult geese and culling them.

"But they shouldn't prick all of the eggs, because without any goslings to take care of the geese may move on to places where they are not wanted."

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The figures showed most of the eggs pricked were at Sandwell Valley Country Park.

A total of 86 were pricked at Priory Woods nature reserve, 54 at Forge Mill Lake and 20 at Swan Pool. Another 29 were pricked at the Sheepwash nature reserve.

Oiling of eggs has been mostly focused on the two parks where the geese cull attracted controversy – Dartmouth Park and Victoria Park, Tipton, with 31 and 27 respectively.

Eggs were also oiled in smaller numbers at Victoria Park, Smethwick, West Smethwick Park, Smethwick Hall and Red House Park. A total of 22 were oiled across the four sites.

Councillor Richard Marshall, cabinet member for leisure, said: "The council is not anti-geese but the mess they leave on paths and pavements is a cause for complaints from residents, especially when people stand in one place to feed them and that in turn attracts vermin and all of those associated issues."

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