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Sullivan's Pond geese rounded up a month early after attack on senior
HALIFAX -- The annual roundup of Dartmouth’s iconic Sullivan’s Pond geese was held Monday morning -- about a month earlier than usual after an unusual attack on a senior last month.
A number of volunteers armed with blankets gathered at the pond to corral the geese and get them safely into a truck so they could be transported to Hope for Wildlife for the winter.
Hope Swinimer, the founder and director of the wildlife rehabilitation centre in Seaforth, N.S., says Monday’s roundup went “incredibly smoothly.”
“We couldn’t be happier. It was very little stress for the animals,” she says. “They cooperated very well, they went up for their food, we circled them, and were able to gather them and put them in the truck.”
The geese have called Sullivan’s Pond home for decades, but a recent incident has prompted concerns about the birds, and whether they might be showing increasing levels of aggression.
An 87-year-old woman was walking in the area when she was attacked by the birds, sending her to hospital with broken bones and other injuries.
The geese are rounded up every year -- usually in early December -- but Swinimer says they decided to round up the geese early this year due to the concerns, and so they can assess the birds.
“Out of concern for the people of HRM and out of concern for the lady that was injured, HRM asked us if we would move the geese sooner,” says Swinimer.
“I’ll be sort of assessing them to a degree and seeing if I can, see if there’s sort of a leader of the pack that may have caused the problem, and assess it from there.”
Swinimer says Hope for Wildlife has been taking the geese for seven or eight years. The tradition started after the geese got stuck in the ice on the pond.
“Geese do very well in the cold, that’s not a concern, but there were occasions where they’d get stuck in the ice just at that point where the ice was freezing over, and it was concerning, so it was decided by the city, they asked us if we’d interested in just wintering them over, and we’ve been doing it for a long time,” says Swinimer.
“Their habitat isn’t quite as beautiful as it is here at Sullivan’s Pond, but it’s nice, and they have lots of comforts and lots of good food.”
The nine geese will spend the winter months at Hope for Wildlife and be returned to the pond in the spring.