Dogs 'haze' geese to control population on Detroit's Belle Isle, DNR says

BELLE ISLE, Mich. (WXYZ) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is using dogs to control geese in Belle Isle. 

The DNR says Belle Isle has many Canadian geese, which lead to plenty of mess. In order to control the goose population, the DNR started using the services of Goodbye Geese, a Detroit-based business.

Goodbye Geese is researching the effectiveness of using border collies to control geese in an environment like Belle Isle.

The dogs "haze" the geese – startling them and compelling them to fly elsewhere. The DNR said the hazing scares geese away from an area.

Goodbye Geese and its team of dogs spent 29 hours in August and September hazing more than 5,000 geese in the area of Belle Isle around Lake Tacoma.

The DNR describes the hazing as the following: As soon as the geese see the dogs, they retreat to the nearest body of water. The dogs then jump in and swim after the geese. Normally, after repeated hazing, the geese get frustrated and fly away to look for a safer space.

“So far, the research shows that the border collie hazing is working,” said Karis Floyd, DNR manager of Belle Isle Park and Milliken State Park and Harbor. “In Belle Isle’s core control zone, the number of geese present has decreased over time.”

According to the Goodbye Geese website, a Cornell University study showed that each visit from border collie patrols removed geese with a 94 percent success rate in the first 11 minutes.

The research project will continue until Nov. 30.

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