DENVER -- The culling of geese at city parks continues to be a controversial issue in Denver. Parks and Recreation announced Wednesday that the operation is over.
For the first time, Mayor Michael Hancock is answering questions about the controversy.
The mayor said the decision to remove geese was not an easy one, but the waste problem at city parks is a health hazard and something needed to be done.
The city said the geese will be used to help feed Coloradans in need.
“What they are doing is taking them to a processor and they are getting processed and they are being donated to needy families," said Scott Gilmore with Denver Parks and Recreation.
Hancock said the geese will not go to waste and will be safe to eat.
“We have people who are food insecure. I think it’s an opportunity for us to help meet some of that need," Hancock said.
Denver residents have voiced strong opinions on both sides of the issue.
“How about the little kids? You want them infected by the bacteria from the geese poop?" a man in favor of the decision said.
Someone against the decision said, “I am just one amongst you who is a concerned Denver resident in terms of what’s taking place in our city’s parks.”
Denver Parks and Recreation tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers the geese population was just too big and their waste was causing significant problem.
The city says the geese leave about one pound of feces per goose per day. To put that into perspective, in one year, the geese leave behind so much waste, it's the equivalent to the weight of 152 elephants.
There were about 5,000 geese in the city. 2,200 were removed.
“I’m an animal lover. I’m not about needlessly destroying animals, but this became a problem and unless we interject and try to intercede, then the disruption -- the threats that we did have -- were going to continue," Hancock said.