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Coyote decoys stolen from Waterloo Park won’t be replaced

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Plastic coyotes, set up in April around Waterloo Park to scare off geese, have now been missing for more than a month.

Officials with the City of Waterloo say they disappeared within weeks of making their debut.

“We didn’t see them anywhere else in the park. I don’t want to make any assumptions, but they’re definitely missing,” said Tom Margetts, manager of park operations for the City of Waterloo.

The decoys were part of an experiment to see how they would impact the birds who roam around the park.

“We picked up ten decoys. We have two left over that we’re currently not using and they’re about $100 each. So it’s a pretty low-cost experiment,” said Margetts.

The city said they received a lot of complaints about geese last year, specifically their droppings and aggressive behaviour.

“Pretty much every step you take, you really have to be watching out when you’re walking,” one parkgoer told CTV News on Monday.

“The leftovers from the geese are all over the place, so I try and swerve around it,” another parkgoer said.

It seems the geese have been marking their territory even more in recent weeks since their goslings hatched.

The coyotes, a natural predator of the species, weren’t meant to rid the park of geese entirely. Rather, the goal was to try and keep them off the main paths.

There’s currently no plan to replace them, and were never meant to be a permanent fixture in the park. But while they were there, did they work?

“I think it was a little too soon to tell,” said Margetts. “There was some feedback from staff that seemed to indicate they were moving to areas away from where people like to spend time. So I think they were being somewhat effective.”

Some people passing through the park saw different results.

“I wasn’t really seeing anything running in the opposite direction. More often than not, I would see geese just right next to [the decoys],” one person said. “I actually wasn’t sure if they were real or not. When it’s darker at night, it worked on me. I’m sure it would work on the birds right?” another person at the park asked.

We won’t get that answer as the city works toward a goose management strategy, which they hope to implement in 2025.

“We’re just in the very initial stages. I’m sure we’ll reach out to other municipalities or other professionals who know this type of stuff,” said Margetts. “We’re experimenting with some different sweeping and cleaning equipment for the walkways to keep them more clean.”

Until then, the only wild goose chase happening may be the hunt for a clean spot to step.

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