Canada-Goose,

The Great Flamingo Uprising

I told this story to a few guildies a while back and decided to archive it in a longer format; so here is the story of The Great Flamingo Uprising of 2010 as told to me by my favorite cousin who was a keeper at the time.

In addition to the aviary/jungle exhibit, our zoo has several species of birds that pretty much have the run of the place.  They started with a small flock of flamingos and some free-range peacocks that I’m almost certain came from my old piano teacher’s farm.  She preferred them to chickens.  At some point in time they also acquired a pair of white swans (Or as I call them, “hellbirds”) and some ornamental asian duckies to decorate the pond next to the picnic area.  Pigeons, crows, assorted ducks and a large number of opportunistic Canada geese moved in on their own. 

Now; the ponds that dot the zoo property (I don’t remember how many there are but the one by the picnic area is the only one with swans) were also full of ginormous koi fish, some of whom by now are at least three feet long.  Sensing an opportunity to cash in on the koi, the zoo put up little vending machines all over the place that dispense handfuls of food pellets.  I swear to god the fish can hear the crank turning, and will show up at the nearest railing, blooping expectantly at whoever happens to be standing there and doing their best to appear starving and desperate. 

Like this.^  And they weren’t the only ones who learned to associate the sound with the imminent arrival of food.  The Canada geese knew a good deal when they saw one, and had long since ceased to migrate anyway.  They formed roving gangs of thug-geese and staked out their turf around the vending machines, ready to mug anyone with pocket change.  Picture yourself as a small child squaring off with a bird fully prepared to strip search you while standing on your feet and yelling “HWAAAAAKK!!” in your face.  It’s traumatizing to you and deeply hilarious to your parents.

Anyway.

The flamingos had their spot near the zoo entrance and never seemed to mind the presence of the other birds, as they kept themselves to themselves and didn’t really like the taste of fish pellets.  The problem lay in that their shrimp pond was close to a vending machine.  Ordinarily that wouldn’t have been an issue at all, but eventually the goose population grew large enough that one of the gangs decided to annex it.  Being territorial little shits, they would harass the poor flamingos any time they strayed within ten feet of it.  The flamingos tolerated this for years until one day they snapped collectively.  Here’s a summary of the incident in chronological order.

1.) It was a hot day, so everyone in question both human and avian, were cranky by the time the zoo even opened.
2.) A few flamingos (let’s call them The Jets) strayed into the radius of the vending machine and were immediately confronted by the indignant hissing geese (The Sharks)
3.) Possibly due to heat and the simple fact that the geese had been giant douchebags for far too long, the flamingos decided fuck it, this time they were going to FIGHT BACK DAMMIT, and swarmed the geese en mass.
4.) Chaos ensued.  The geese were outnumbered 4 to 1 but had the advantage of being able to scream for back-up. 
5.) Hearing the shrieking Canada geese and the bellowing of the enraged flamingos, the peacocks came to the conclusion that the apocalypse had come upon them and began to gather in the surrounding trees in droves and wail in despair.  Or cheer them on, whichever.
6.) NOISE
7.) Apparently one of the siege tactics employed by the geese is to shit explosively all over the sidewalks. Never in the grass. 
8.) The geese, having secured reinforcements from all over the zoo, went berserk and proceeded to attack EVERYBODY who had come to watch be they human or otherwise.
9.) The flamingos were chasing/being chased by the geese through the crowd accompanied by cheers/wails from the peacocks in the box seats.
10.) Complete pandemonium when the zoo tram became stalled on the tracks by the flamingo pond due to battling birds.  The Jets, sensing these were somehow reinforcements on the side of the Sharks, charged the tram.  Adults were doing the duck and cover.  So were the ducks.  Small children were screaming, adding to the noise.  People were slipping on goose shit and hitting the ground in the fetal position, only to be stampeded by the rampaging flamingos.
11.) The koi continued to bloop hopefully for food.
12.) Two of the geese were cornered by a rival gang of their own and were chased into the swan pond.  Cue slow-motion.
13.) The swans detected an enemy presence in their territory and by god, SOMEBODY was going to PAY. 
14.) The staff were having no luck in breaking up the fight and on the verge of giving up and just building another zoo elsewhere when the hellbirds stormed the battlefield, trumpeting battle-cries, to dispense feathered justice.  The staff promptly dropped their brooms and fled.
15.) The uprising was squashed in less than two minutes.  Number of casualties was unknown, feathers were flying everywhere and there was enough goose shit to build another bird.  One staff member had been knocked to the ground and was left with a melon sized bruise courtesy of one of the hellbirds.  Several children were traumatized, probably for life.  The zoo eventually removed the vending machine by the flamingos. 

The geese went back to being giant douchebags. Because geese.

7

It’s true: The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) was believed to be either functionally or fully extinct in the wild, and multiple subspecies were believed to be extinct altogether, back in the mid-1900s. 

Read more about the re-discovery and recovery of Branta canadensis maxima.

Debunking the Canada Goose Post

I keep getting tagged in that post and I have been debunking it time and time again since I first saw it last year. Anyways, I hate always filling your feeds with that same post over and over again. So I’m making my own post that you can feel free to share around instead. 

First I wanna say, I am a fur trapper. If trapping was as cruel and maiming as they claim it is, I wouldn’t be doing it. In fact I have released animals from foot hold traps who trotted away totally fine. Biologists even use foothold traps to collar endangered animals, such as Mexican and Red wolves. Trapping is not just for fur, but it’s also a very valuable conservation tool. Think about it. If biologists use footholds to catch endangered and threatened animals for their conversational efforts, they wouldn’t be doing it if it injured the animal. Injured, maimed animals become useless to conservation and research. Biologists need animals at their healthiest. 

Now all these bloody, miserable pictures you see used in Peta posts are not typical of trapping. These are the results of misuse, poaching and yes, even staging. Peta and other AR groups has been proven to have staged their skinning alive video by the German high court, and they’re also staging the wild fur side of the industry as well. Don’t fall for their edited videos and paid off actors. 

Traps are TOOLS. They’re just objects. You need education to use them properly. You need to comply with laws and welfare to use them effectively. Traps are not these toothed, cartoonish shredders that people tend to imagine. In fact, they’re just devices to hold. That’s it. A trap’s use is to hold an animal until you arrive. Maiming is not part of the function and they’re not designed to mangle and break arms. 

I set them off on my own fingers. No pain. Just holding. That’s it. The reason people think traps maim is because certain organizations force feed specifically chosen and non typical images down people’s throats. Foxes with shredded feet are not proper catches and are not an ethical means to trapping. 

This raccoon is caught in a dog proof trap. This is a trap similar to a foothold but has a cylinder tube design, where animals with hand like paws can trigger the trap. We released him and he trotted off perfectly fine. He was just a bit muddy. 

Below is a common trap that is used. It is known as a “Soft Catch”. This has padded rubber jaws. Other traps include Offsets (jaws have a gap between them) and Laminated (Jaws are wider to hold better). In some states, like my own, we can ONLY use rubber padded traps on land. 

Above here is a conibear. This is a kill type trap. Think of how a rat trap works and that’s a similar comparison. In a picture in the Canada Goose post, shows a coyote standing with one around the head. In that case, it was more than likely a trap with weak springs. Properly functioning Coni have immense killing power and would have landed the coyote dead. These traps are very effective at killing, and as such, many states have these banned to water use only. So the coyote image could also have been illegal as well. Up north in Canada and Alaska though, these traps are used effectively on wolverine, fox and lynx. 

Traps look scary. They look daunting to people who don’t understand them. I get that. But they’re not maiming devices. The trap itself is just to hold, but there’s more to the structure of a trap than the jaws that make them so effective. It’s the chain set up.

Swivels in a chain allow the animal to move around freely and not get kinked up. 

A good trap and a proper chain set up are absolutely necessary to trapping and holding animals. Swivels must be used! I’d say swivels are probably the most important part of the set up, because they allow that caught animal to turn and jump freely. Swivels prevent broken bones and promote natural movement.

In fact, animals don’t chew out of traps. Historically, say, around the late 1800s, people did not adhere to animal welfare too much. That just wasn’t as commonplace then as it is today. Those traps back then had chains that lacked swivels and laws were not really set in place The animal spun and spun and kinked his chain and kept going, eventually breaking all his wrist bones and then tearing out from the trap. He never chewed it off. This is why swivels are necessary to the trap set up. They keep the animal safe and they hold the animal better. 

It’s just not logical to misuse traps if you’re after fur or live specimens for collaring. Why would a trapper risk an animal tearing out and lose it? Doesn’t make sense, yet activists tote this misuse as the norm when it’s really not. We want them held properly so we can arrive and either dispatch them or release them (for any reason, like if it’s a non target species). 

Now time to look at one of the most well known pictures activists will shove down your throats.

This is a very heart breaking and miserable image and of course is so often used as an example of “usual” trapping. However, this is NOT a proper set up and is more than likely an illegal set. Look back up at the image of the proper chain set up and see if you can spot one here… Do you see a proper set up? No. There is none. Instead, whoever set this trap used a long piece of cheap wire which was fastened onto a tree or post and kinked up and tangled into the surrounding brush. This is not a proper set up, and only promotes breakage of the bones and tearing of the flesh. As expected, this poor coyote fell victim to. Whoever set this was uneducated and didn’t have any knowledge of the laws and quite likely wasn’t even a licensed trapper at all. 

Unfortunately, this does happen from time to time. For example, land owners who do not know about their options to a legal trapper or cannot have access to a trapper to humanely catch their nuisance animals, will get traps and misuse them terribly - or, they use indiscriminate poisons. 

One reason trapping is so important is if someone has troublesome animals, they can allow a trapper to come (usually for completely free) and rid of the animals legally. If trapping is banned and desperate land owners have no options, they’ll misuse these tools and/or poison animals.  

Legal trapping is done in specific seasons and allows the animals to reproduce in healthy numbers the following breeding season. Trappers often have to go to education courses and yes, even sometimes a trapping specific collage, such as the Fur Takers of America Collage (http://www.furtakersofamerica.com/college.html

Here’s some commonplace laws on trapping :

1) Live catching traps (foot holds, cages, dog proofs) must be checked daily

2) Conibear in water sets only (rules varies by state. Some states have size laws)

3) Specific laws on jaw type. Some states are only rubber padded for land use, some allow offsets, others all types, etc

4) Trapping License is always required

5) Educational Courses before license and certification is issued (varies but this is gaining a lot of support and may one day be mandatory for all states).

6) All traps must be tagged with owner’s name and number

Trapping is very regulated and always improving and seeking better ways to practice. The BMP studies allow for improvements and progress in trapping and it’s usefulness as a management tool : http://fishwildlife.org/?section=best_management_practices

A trapper who breaks the law and misuses traps will have their license taken away. 


The proper catch in a foothold trap looks like this :

Notice the lack of blood and no maiming. This animal could have been released if the trapper had needed to do so. We can release animals that we don’t intend to take if they happen to get caught. For example, let’s say a state doesn’t allow the taking of bobcat and you are trapping for coyotes but you catch a bobcat in your set. You can safely release this bobcat and continue trapping for coyotes. Trapping is an excellent management tool  that is very specific and non targets can be safely released if they get caught.

Here’s some more proper catches :

These photos above are the actual normal conditions the paws are in, but activists will deny you these types of proper pictures and deny you information about trapping entirely. Activists operate on pulling the heart strings and that’s it. There’s a reason they only show you the absolute most gory, disgusting pictures and not what really happens with legal, proper trapping. They only want you to see what they nit pick and highlight. Don’t gobble up everything they heap on your plate because they thrive on using misinformation by toting it as “factual evidence” while they deny you information to the subject entirely

So now instead of pictures, here’s some videos of trapping in action! 

A documentary about coyotes. You will see exactly how biologists use foothold traps to collar and take vital information on animals. Notice how the coyote bounds away completely unharmed after they collar her. 

 Red wolves being trapped for research and collaring.

Someone demonstrating how traps work on their own fingers.

What the Canada Goose post shows you is gross, shocking nit picked images meant to shatter your heart and get you reaching for your torches and pitch forks blindly. Step back and take a breath and go see things from the other side and see how the subject actually works when not under the fire of hyped up media. It’s okay to disagree with trapping, but you should understand how it actually works. 

Instagram: (@loganmartintran)

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