Canada geese are lingering in parks around the country, and anyone wanting to take a stroll there gets a nasty surprise. Meet the Goosinator, a bright orange robot being tested as a way to keep geese moving along.
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Geese here in Denver seem to find the location as appealing as I do. Instead of moving south, they're hanging around, gorging on grass in open areas, and pooping all over city parks. One goose drops at least a pound of poop daily, Bruce Finley wrote in the Denver Post. Multiply that by flock after flock and we've got a gross, expensive problem.
Usually, parks in the area have turned to dogs to discourage the geese, but they can cost $500 a day to employ and they're limited as to how fast they can move and where they can go. The Goosinator is a remote-controlled, battery-powered robot made from orange foam painted to resemble a devilish, grinning beast. It can move up to 25 miles per hour.
A video made by its creators shows the robot continuously scaring geese away by moving along grass, snow, concrete and icy water. It also emits a loud motorized sound. Colorado-based Goosinator designer Randy Claussen told the Denver Post his challenge was to come up with a craft that could move along all kinds of different surfaces and be intimidating to geese.
"We humanely are returning wildlife back to the wild, at your fingertips," Claussen told the Post (video). Denver parks officials recently bought two Goosinators, costing about $3,000 each, and plan to have college interns operate them. It sounds expensive but just cleaning up after the geese can cost up to $1,000 a week.
So far the robots have been deployed in urban parks in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and New York. Residents in Westchester, N.Y., are trying it as an alternative to rounding up geese and killing them, which is what happened last summer, according to the Journal News.
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Goosinators do have their detractors. One lady in Denver told Finley she wonders where the geese will go if they all get driven from city parks. I doubt they'll come hang out in my neighborhood for a leisurely snack, though. Almost everyone here has a dog.
Photo: The Goosinator takes to the water. Credit: Randy Claussen via LoHud.com