HOW IT ALL STARTED.
My name is Ian, and I am a defender of wildlife and activist. I was in Victoria Park Tipton, a green flag park in Sandwell, West Midlands last year, where I took some footage of a rather peculiar “relocation” from this park involving a pest control company called “PESTEX”. Their website boasts of “controlling and managing” Canada geese- though these words are in themselves circumlocutions for culling. The first thing I noted was the vehicles parked outside and some of the information contained on the logos.
Then on the park near the lake I saw a group of individuals with a Heras fence set up cordoned off with tape- I certainly started to smell a rat. It was at this point that I started to wonder what the hell was going on and if Sandwell council had crossed a line in terms of culling healthy birds in this park. Then one of them, the obvious CEO of operations made the mistake of asking me to encourage the geese over with bread toward the enclosure. He had no idea who I was, and I asked him what they were doing and for what purpose.
LIE NO 1
“We’re, er putting some special powder on their feet to stop them having pests.”
LIE NO 2
“Er we’re putting rings on their feet mate.”
LIE NO 3
“We don’t kill birds mate. We’re relocating them to the Sandwell Valley.”
TRUTH NO 1
“I’m just doing my job mate”, before pointing me in the direction of the parks manager’s house who lives in the park- whom it appears had authorised the entire operation in his wonderful green flag park himself. The guy in the combat trousers was just obeying orders.
All three of the lies are total bullshit. Looking at this lot, none are BTO ringers and rings do not go on “feet”. Powder- never heard that one before except in 40′s Poland etc. “Relocation”- is an evocative word again evoking a theme of mass clandestine slaughter.
This operation was in my opinion cruel and unprofessional, causing unnecessary suffering to these flightless birds in moult. To explain, Canada geese are flightless for most of the month of July, where they gather on lakes that they consider to be “safe”; after this they then start to disperse out to other nearby waterways.
But why would such a company spokesman give out such lies to the public if only to throw them off course for what they were actually there to do?
These birds, over 50 were not restrained in any way whatsoever. I know from 17 years experience of having to catch geese that they are incredibly distressed when handled and fight like hell to escape. Imagine this number in small enclosure and you get the picture of what would be going on in this cheap trailer trash box.
That was that- they said they were being “relocated” and I have no way of verifying it- but ha ha I do, because Sandwell dropped an almighty clanger.
I asked for proof from a park ranger based at Sandwell Valley that these birds had been “relocated” to the Sandwell Valley, as I wanted proof. This was provided to me by email with three pictures- which are shown below. It is quite apparent from these that Canada geese are exiting the same trailer box at speed at Forge Mill Lake- and RSPB nature reserve in West Bromwich- which is just 3 miles away.
Then this year, low and behold to the week, I noticed around 70 birds missing from Victoria park lake- including a crossbreed goose that had lived there quite happily for over 15 years and others with distinctive markings. These “pest exterminators” wouldn’t know about such things and neither would John Satchwell– the Senior parks manager who lives in the park, whom it appears has ordered the same “relocation” again. I wonder when the green flag is being judged? Perhaps the geese intimidate him or his wife when grazing outside his house.
The video of this event has been widely viewed and is available on youtube. But the “relocation” of these geese was only the start of the journey in getting to the truth of what had really happened to them, and just how far Sandwell council would go to trying to cover up the truth from the general public.