Leeds beauty spot geese cull under fire

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A conservation group has hit out at Leeds-Bradford Airport bosses for last week’s cull of Canada Geese.

The Canada Goose Conservation Society has joined a number of local residents in deploring the incident which saw a number of geese killed at Yeadon Tarn, near the airport.

Officers from the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) are believed to have shot around 10 geese at around 5am last Thursday, after they cordoned off the beauty spot.

The airport confirmed it asked for the cull but refused to make any other comment.

Steph Baxter, from the society, said: “The shooting of adult birds, as well as being cruel, is not an effective means of reducing numbers of Canada Geese since more birds will always fly into the territory.

“These actions have upset a lot of local people and the airport should provide some answers and an assurance that no more culls will take place.”

She added that a more humane approach would be to use bird-scarers and then reduce numbers of geese by egg-pricking or habitat management at breeding-grounds.

Complaints from wildlife enthusiasts and the residents of Yeadon have led to locals putting up RIP posters around the village.

Coun Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) said: “From a PR point of view, this was dealt with wrongly. If they had to do it again I hope it would be more open and up front.

“I appreciate the safety implications and would not want to put people at risk but I can’t help but think they could have netted them and taken them somewhere else to solve everybody’s problems.”

The cull was carried out to stop the birds flying across the airport runway. The beauty spot was cordoned off before locals heard gunshots but Coun Campbell said that ward members were not consulted.

An RSPB spokesman said: “Our view is that lethal control of an animal is the absolute last resort.

“The presence of Canada Geese is posing a problem. Clearly something needs to be done but what we are trying to prevent is measures such as culling being seen as a knee-jerk reaction.”

He added that the cull was legal and there was a 13km radius for guidance around the airport.