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One Family Enjoys Another

Prospect Park geese: count down to none?

There is a happy rumor that three goslings were spotted somewhere near "Duck Island." I know this because many wildlife enthusiasts have sent me posts, directing me to check out this island, "Duck."  After many days, nights and hours combing the park and the lake's every nook and cranny, I came up dry.

Then, amazingly, last Thursday, I stumbled upon a father and his five children, lined up along the southern banks of the lake tending to this one lone gosling family.

Definitely not the same age as the three "" – but equally precious.  In the background of this iPhone video clip, you can hear the voice of Ibrahim as he teaches his son about the difference in color between the adult geese and the gosling.  It was wonderful to witness the care and attention this father took and the way that he taught – by example  – his respect and affection for the birds.  

I learned that Ibrahim's youngest child, a 4-year-old nick-named "Nina," was the survivor of a heart transplant and a stroke.  

"She is the true miracle!"  he said.

While feeding the gosling, Nina sprang to her feet and clapped her hands, causing the family to "turn tail" and paddle away. Ibrahim scooped the girl up in his arms, "Gentle, Nina!" he told her, "That is a baby – just like you."  

Then he called out to the gosling, "What should we call you?  We should name you? Lucky! Lucky, because you survive! They have not killed you!"

Unfortunately, the mayor of our city does not share Ibrahim's sensitivity.  Our "Green" Mayor (Green for what, exactly?)  has contracted the USDA's  Orwellian "Wildlife Services"  to kill 80 percent of the area's Canada Geese. This one goose family and the handful of geese remaining in Prospect Park are swimming on death row.

 The USDA usually swoops in on the geese at the end of June – just when the birds are molting (meaning that they cannot fly as they shed their old feathers and grow new ones). The city's kill-contract expires on June 30, and the mayor is rumored to be eager to renew.

But – and it's a big but – it ain't over til it's over.  Our community was one of the first to rally and object to this massive extermination, holding  a peaceful, loving vigil where families joined hands in a symbolic gesture of protection "across the lake."  And now there is even a with bird-loving volunteers committed to doing everything they can to prevent another round-up.

And, amazingly,  just last week  a community up in Buffalo, New York rejected the death sentence for their Canada Geese and were granted a reprieve.  The Feds were lock-and-load ready,  the contract was in place, but the community rallied to the call of protecting their wildlife.  

They made their voices known, so can we.

What can you do?

Call 311.  Send an email to Mayor Bloomberg. Call your local representative.  Call the Prospect Park Alliance. Call the Central Park Conservancy.  Join one of the many wildlife organizations, sign on to the “For the Love of the Geese in Prospect Park” or  “Call of the Canada Geese” Facebook page.  Contact the at protectourgeese@gmail.com.

Join forces.  Now is the time.  Before it’s too late.  

For information de-bunking the so-called "avian-threat" presented by Canada Geese, please see my prior blog post, ""

Editor's Note: All Park Slope Patch blog posts are expressly the opinions of the bloggers. They do not reflect the general view point of Park Slope Patch.

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Patty A June 13, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Thank you, Ms. Clearfield for keeping us so well apprised at what is happening with the surviving geese at Prospect Park and how the average citizen can act to protect these innocent animals from further roundups and gassings at the deadly hands of our Mayor and the USDA. It never fails to amaze how children can so wisely appreciate and find joy in wildlife, while our so-called "leaders" sit in offices and sign death warrents for the very animals children and their parents love. Please keep up the great work and the extraordinary "Goosewatch!"
Johanna Clearfield June 13, 2011 at 04:10 PM
Thanks, Patty -- we love our wildlife!!!
MB June 13, 2011 at 04:14 PM
What a beautiful story- when children can find comparisons between their own lives and the lives of non-human animals, chances are the choices they make will be more compassionate and empathetic towards all sentient beings we share this world with. Kudos to the dad! This is how it begins.
Johanna Clearfield June 13, 2011 at 06:37 PM
MB- Exactly! I see so many kids in the park who go off on army-like attacks- chasing the squirrels, tgrowing rocks at the geese and the ducks while their parents either aren't paying attention or laugh as if it's fun to terrify the wildlife we are so blessed to have in our park. Compassion is something children can learn at an incredibly early age and grows as the child grows. All of Ibrahim's children were incredibly well behaved, focused and had a conversation with me well above their age level-- They were delightful-- a son about 11, daughters ranging from 4 to 14. all lovely!
Rina Deych, RN June 13, 2011 at 10:25 PM
Thank you, Ms. Clearfield, for this heartwarming (and thought-provoking) piece! We need to continue to nurture the compassion that I (would like to) believe is in most people. We, the tax-paying public, want to see our geese happy and thriving in our parks. Kudos to all who are protecting these amazing creatures. Rina Deych, RN
Johanna Clearfield June 14, 2011 at 02:49 AM
UPDATE: THE HUMANE SOCIETY HAS ANNOUNCED A BILL TO BE PRESENTED IN CONGRESS THAT WOULD STOP FUNDS ($74 MILLION a year) GOING TO THE USDA'S "WILDLIFE SERVICES." https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5096
Marion Ambler June 14, 2011 at 10:56 PM
We need more geese, families like Ibrahim's, and intelligent insightful writers like Johanna; imagine no more goose killing or the type of people who make these devious plans and can only think of rounding up flightless innocent birds and inhumanely gassing them, which sounds altogether too gestapo like for my comfort. "As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together." —Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer and Nobel laureate (1902–1991)
Johanna Clearfield June 16, 2011 at 04:50 AM
http://community.nytimes.com/comments/cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/culled-geese-are-bound-for-tables-not-dump/?permid=5#comment5 According to Andrew Newman's article in today's NY Times, the USDA -- completely unaffected by the huge public outcry AGAINST any destruction or attack on our area's wildlife -- is going ahead full blast to destroy the unprotected and defenseless geese in the NYC area. Geese now cannot fly - they are molting. Thousands are now slotted to be "rounded up" and gassed to death along with their goslings. There is no democratic process, this is all done by the USDA. PLEASE CALL AND PROTEST TO FARRELL SKLEROV (quoted in articles) (718) 595-3402. ALSO CALL MARTIN LOWNEY OF USDA (866) 487-3297. CALL PROSPECT PARK ALLIANCE. GET AS MANY PEOPLE TO CALL AS POSSIBLE!
Johanna Clearfield June 22, 2011 at 03:47 PM
New coalition of local wildlife advocates, nature lovers and just plain park-goers -- joining forces to oppose the Mayor's upcoming plan to obliterate the area's Canada Geese. Last year - July 8, 2010, the USDA stole from Prospect park our beloved Canada Geese. Thursday, June 23, members of our local community, Goosewatch and others will take a trip to City Hall. More to come..... http://humanerevolution.org/

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