THE INVESTIGATION STARTS
We had so far established that the Manager of the Sandwell Valley, to where these birds were supposedly “relocated”, (according to Parks Manager John Satchwell) ,did not know anything about such an operation by the pest control company in 2014 when we noticed that 70 birds had disappeared. Neither did the senior Countryside ranger at Sandwell, The conservation officer at Sandwell (who stated to me that he would not agree with such a cull being undertaken), or many of the rangers and other staff who work in the parks in the borough. Are they telling the truth or have they been gagged from saying anything?
One of the main players in The Victoria Park steering group also claims she knew nothing about any proposed cull. The secretary of The Friends of Dartmouth Park also states that they did not know anything about the culling of birds in their park. Neither have publicly condemned the action- which probably speaks volumes in itself. You would have thought however that some form of chain of communication existed within the council or consultation with the public instead of an autocracy- or perhaps not. One has to wonder what “experts” advised Sandwell council about taking such an action- certainly none of the talents within the countryside services team it seems.
I never heard anything back from the parks facilities manager Sunnish Patel- though there was a similar lack of interest when I suggested and even offered to pay to plant water plants in a couple of the local parks where there was no plant vegetation for wildfowl to eat. This has nothing to do with the Canada geese, but more likely the result of some overzealous daisy cutter in the past nuking the area with pesticides. BAD MANAGEMENT- BLAME IT ON A WILDLIFE SCAPEGOAT LIKE THE GOOSE.
We contacted Councillor Maria Crompton, Cabinet member for Highways and Environment, left a message for her to contact us and confirm if the birds had been relocated or killed and to make a public statement. Instead of doing this she did not bother to respond to our concerns until a letter from her was posted on the same day as SMBC’s response to our first FOI request. These both confirmed that Sandwell council had indeed carried out a clandestine cull and that Satchwell and the PESTEX contractors had told me a pack of lies about this in the process.