HRM calls for bidders to take in Sullivan’s Pond geese for winter care

Eight geese are seen at Sullivans Pond in Dartmouth on Nov. 7, 2020. Karla Renic / Global News

With only a couple of weeks until Sullivan’s Pond geese are taken into winter care, Halifax is calling on bidders that can provide the service.

Every winter, the group of geese that reside in Dartmouth are provided with winter care including safe shelter, transportation and medical needs, away from the pond.

In the last several years, the Halifax Regional Municipality has had a contract with animal rehabilitation centre Hope for Wildlife to care for the geese.

Read more: Wildlife rehab centre sees increase in call for poisoned pigeons in Nova Scotia

City spokesperson Maggie-Jane Spray tells Global News that the standing offer has expired, and the tender is for the coming winter.

“Whoever the successful bidder is who meets the requirements of the tender will take the geese this year,” Spray said in an email.

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“Under procurement policies, we are tendering for other potential services providers for this unique service.”

Hope Swinimer, founder of Hope for Wildlife, says she hopes to be awarded the three-year contract again.

“We quite enjoy them, and we’ve become good at what we do,” Swinimer says. “We have this connection with them.”

Click to play video: 'Sullivan’s Pond geese rounded up early after attack on senior' Sullivan’s Pond geese rounded up early after attack on senior
Sullivan’s Pond geese rounded up early after attack on senior – Nov 4, 2019

While the contract requires care over the wintertime until mid-April, Swinimer says her centre would provide care for the geese during the summer months when needed.

“This year, for example, there was one that was already blind in one eye and looked like he was starting to lose sight in the other eye. So we went and gathered him and gave him the medical carry needs,” she says. “And because of his visual issues, we ended up finding him a really nice home.”

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Last year, the geese were gathered nearly a month early after a woman reported being attacked by one of the nine geese. Swinimer says her centre took them in and managed to find the instigator.

“We ended up bringing the one here that’s lived here ever since that incident,” she says. “He’s one of those kind of geese that likes to come up to you and honk, and I can see where that would make certain people fearful,” she says.

Read more: Wildlife expert identifies Sullivan’s Pond goose likely responsible for attacking woman

Swinimer says the goose has been very well-behaved since then, and even found a girlfriend at his new home.

Winter care for the geese is a lot of work, Swinimer says. Luckily, the Hope for Wildlife range doesn’t have deer during the winter, so the geese take over the one-acre territory.

“They have the deer shed, they have free range if they want to go in and out of the elements,” Swinimer says.

Read more: N.S. agrees to meet with Hope for Wildlife on black bear euthanizing policy

She says it would be strange to not have them back this year.

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“Sometimes Canadian geese will fly into the area to visit them, or some of the ducks on the property will fly in and visit them. They’re quite vocal, so we’ll often hear them on the property.”

Swinimer says while she hopes to be awarded the contract again, she is happy that the tender is posted to give other bidders an opportunity.

“As long as they’re being cared for and get their medical needs met, that’s that’s all that matters — that they’re healthy and happy.”
Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia’s Hope for Wildlife reports an increase in calls about poisoned pigeons' Nova Scotia’s Hope for Wildlife reports an increase in calls about poisoned pigeons
Nova Scotia’s Hope for Wildlife reports an increase in calls about poisoned pigeons – Sep 5, 2020

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