A group of goose lovers is now planning to stand night watch over Prospect Park’s geese – even if it might mean breaking the law.
A group of 40 or so animal activists, locals, and general fans of the feathered friends have formed the “Goose Watch” to keep an eye on the park’s geese from the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., when the park is legally closed to the public. The Goose Watch will continue until the city’s kill contract with the Department of Agriculture runs up in July.
Edita Birnkrant, an organizer and a director for the wildlife advocacy group Friends of Animals, said that the group plans to operate within the scope of the law, though some organizers like herself might choose to break the law and enter the park, instead of attempting to keep watch from the park’s perimeter.
“Mayor Bloomberg has declared a war on wildlife, and we want to stop that now. We want to send a really strong message that New Yorkers are not putting up with this,” said Birnkrant. “I think that what [the USDA] is doing breaks a much higher law, so I would be willing to break the law and enter the park at night.”
The group, originally reported by The Brooklyn Paper, formed after the park’s four “miracle goslings” were born, and worked out the details of to protect the goslings and other geese from a second, secret mass extermination at a hush-hush meeting on Monday.
“When those four miracle goslings were born that just gave us the momentum,” said Birnkrant. “We can’t stop this through the normal means, so the idea is to do something that has never been done before.”
Members will rotate shifts at various locations in and around the park. Though some details have yet to be worked out – like what to do exactly if the USDA does indeed show up to exterminate the geese again.
“We might try to irritate the heck out of the USDA when they come, make a big racket,” said Birnkrant. “Maybe we can scare the geese away and keep them from being able to do their jobs.”
When potential goose-threatening activity is spotted, watchmen will send out a wave of text messages, alerting other Goose Watch members.
Whatever the methodology, Birnkrant said they will refuse to back down until the killing stops.
“Were not going to allow this to happen again, we’re trying everything,” she said. “This is the critical stage. We’re not just going to sit back and let the USDA to do this killing again.”
Neither the USDA nor the Parks Department returned an immediate call for comment.
Amy Sara Clark contributed reporting to this article.