Seattle boasts some of the most beautiful parks in the country. But the lawns, beaches and wooded areas that make them popular with humans also attract animals whose presence can be problematic for local residents and visitors. One such conflict centered around Canada geese. Long opposed to their lethal removal, PAWS and its partner The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) approached Seattle Parks and Recreation to launch the Seattle Goose Program.
The program uses techniques that discourage geese from congregating at popular parks, and volunteers help clean up any remaining traces of the birds that stay behind. And yes, that means scooping goose poop! Thanks to this successful partnership, the moratorium on killing geese in Seattle’s parks was recently extended through 2006. To learn more, visit: www.paws.org/outreach/campaigns/ goose_program.php.
Based on this successful partnership, PAWS was called on to help another group of animals in danger: domestic rabbits. Over the years, hundreds of pet rabbits have been abandoned by people who no longer want them. Not only is this illegal, but left to fend for themselves, most of the bunnies die quickly from predator attacks, disease, hypothermia or run-ins with automobiles.
Seattle Parks and Recreation, now facing a large landscaping bill to mitigate damage at Woodland Park caused by the bunnies’ foraging and burrowing, recently contacted the House Rabbit Society for help relocating them to a more suitable—and safer—home. PAWS is an advisor to the project that involves humanely trapping the rabbits, who will then be spayed or neutered before going to the Rabbit Meadows Sanctuary in Redmond, WA, to live out their lives in comfort and safety.
These partnerships demonstrate that community-based solutions to conflicts with animals can be both humane and cost-effective. PAWS applauds the progressive strategies embraced by our partners, who in turn have expressed gratitude to the animal welfare community for its dedication to making Seattle a great place to live. When people cooperate to solve animal-related problems humanely, everyone wins.