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Removal of geese at Tynwald Park

STATEMENT FROM MAYOR BEN SHAW - 03/07/19

Yesterday, the General Manager authorised the commissioning of an independent review of the decisions that led to the geese and ducks being culled at Tynwald Park with the findings to be presented to council.

The General Manager has informed me that until the report is presented to the elected council, he will be stepping aside to reduce suggestions of conflict of interest or undue influence being made.

I will be appointing an acting General Manager in the coming days.

Neither I, nor Council will be making any further comment on this matter until the report is complete and the findings are known.

I would hope that this report will be completed by the end of the month.

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STATEMENT FROM GENERAL MANAGER - 02/07/19

Since early yesterday morning, I have been conducting some preliminary fact finding interviews with members of staff.

My interviews have uncovered the original plan to sedate and relocate the geese elsewhere in the valley was abandoned. The decision to destroy them was deemed the next viable alternative.

I can confirm a chemical, Alpha-Chloralose, was used. The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPiPWE) states on their website that Alpha-Chloralose is ‘one of the safest and most humane poisons available for controlling problem populations of birds’.

Two days after the geese cull, masked lapwings (plovers) were found at Tynwald Park with signs of poisoning. Two of the lapwings were taken to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary for care but later died. The lapwings have been sent for toxicology testing to determine the cause of death.

The pest control company that was used are fully certified and licensed. They have provided pest control services to Tasmanian Councils for the eradication of feral animals and introduced pests for over 20 years.

I have commissioned an Independent examination into what led, from a decision to sedate and relocate the geese, to euthanasing them.

I have had the area where the geese were fed cordoned off and a thick layer of dirt spread over the area as a precaution. The rest of Tynwald Park is open as usual.

Mayor Shaw will also be making a further statement tomorrow morning.

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UPDATE - SUNDAY 30/06/19

A number of plovers have been found at Tynwald Park this morning, indicators suggest they have been poisoned. The plovers have been removed from the site so that no dogs or other animals can be affected.

A Council Officer is cordoning off the area and will be laying a thick layer of soil over the area to prevent any other wildlife being inadvertently poisoned.

The area will remain cordoned off until we can be 100% certain it is safe before allowing access to the public.

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UPDATE - SATURDAY 29/06/19

Thank you for your patience while we have investigated what occurred at Tynwald Park yesterday.

A number of complaints from the community about excessive bird droppings together with ongoing damage to the playing field over the last couple of months led to Council Officers discussing how to remedy the situation at Tynwald Park.

One idea canvassed was to have a number of geese safely relocated to another part of the valley. After consulting with a veterinarian about sedative options, a council officer subsequently determined that the idea was not viable, determining to engage a pest management company to have the target geese humanely destroyed.

The licensed pest management company employed the use of a chemically laced bait which resulted in 14 geese and two ducks being destroyed. No native species were destroyed.

It was deemed safe to reopen the area for public use before the pest management company left the park as the bait had been removed.

We will be conducting further enquiries with council officers during the week to review the process and decision making which led to this outcome.

A further statement will be issued once these enquiries conclude next week.

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE - FRIDAY 28/06/19

We have been made aware of a situation regarding the removal of geese from Tynwald Park earlier today. Unfortunately, the geese have died during this process.

Neither elected members or council management were involved with the actions that led to this happening. We are extremely concerned at how this occurred and are taking it very seriously.

The General Manager is demanding an explanation and conducting a review into the decisions that led to this outcome.

We apologise for any distress this may have caused.

We will make a further statement when we have identified all of the facts.

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Derwent Valley Council
The Derwent Valley Municipal area is characterised by its ever growing rural townships, green hills and river valley environment. Major features of the Derwent Valley municipality include its land and fresh water resources.
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New Norfolk Tas 7140
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