By Jono Hutchison
Recent culls of Canada Geese are believed to have killed up to 18,000 birds but the operation has concerned some hunters.
They say Lake Ellesmere has been left in a mess with rotting carcasses on the lake edge.
But those involved in the culling operation say they did clean up.
“They've had over a week now to clean up after the first cull, and there's birds that I’ve seen at different levels of decomposition, which shows they've been there for quite a long time, not just from the last heli-cull,” says Hunter Tom Lanauze.
Federated Farmers, which has complained for years about the voracious birds eating grass and destroying pasture, played a prominent role in the culls.
“Not a pleasant operation, obviously, but it had to be done and it's a successful operation. And now it's really up to the recreational hunters to show us that they can control goose numbers,” says Simon Williamson from the Federated Farmers.
Canada Geese were introduced as a game bird, but last year the Government agreed their population was out of control, and reclassified them as a pest.
Mr Lanauze agrees there needed to be a cull, but says hundreds of carcasses have been left around the lake.
“None of us were present, we volunteered to help with the cull but that was turned down, and obviously seeing what's been left behind, would've liked to be able to contribute to at least helping in the clean-up,” says Mr Lanauze.
Federated Farmers insists their clean-up recovered 99 percent of the carcasses.
“It is still an operation in progress, so if there are some that should turn up on the edge of a lake, we will carry on picking them up,” says Mr Williamson.
Mr Lanauze took 3 News onto Lake Ellesmere to see some of the birds that had washed up on conservation land.
The Department of Conservation says it has not received any complaints about geese carcasses on public land, but after 3 News told Doc about them, staff members were sent to check around the lake edge.
“Things do slip through the cracks, but unfortunately in this case what slipped through the cracks is hundreds of dead geese washing up ashore, which is obviously not an ideal result,” says Mr Lanauze.
Both the hunters and Federated Farmers say they want to work together in the future, but some ruffled feathers will have to be smoothed first.