'Gators' scare away Canada geese at Memphis Botanic Garden - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

'Gators' scare away Canada geese at Memphis Botanic Garden

(SOURCE: Memphis Botanic Garden) (SOURCE: Memphis Botanic Garden)
(SOURCE: Memphis Botanic Garden) (SOURCE: Memphis Botanic Garden)

Countless Mid-South brides have smiled for photographers in the Japanese Garden of Tranquility with its iconic Red Bridge at Memphis Botanic Garden

The blushing brides have sometimes had to dodge one hundred Canada Geese who frequent the Japanese Garden’s koi pond and nearby grassy spaces. “They make a big, big mess,” said Michael Allen, the Botanic Garden’s Executive Director, referring to the droppings that get all over the picturesque space.

“When they have babies, the moms especially can be somewhat territorial and protective of the goslings. That can startle our guests, particularly children,” Allen said. Canada Geese are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act so the Botanic Garden team has to be careful when dealing with the birds that range in size from three to thirteen pounds.

Since the geese cannot be forcibly removed, the Botanic Garden has discovered a new, humane way to encourage them to go elsewhere. Two sets of flaming red eyes now keep watch in the koi pond beneath the Red Bridge. They’re named Ari and Geta, plastic alligator heads that apparently look like the real thing to Canada geese! 

“We invested a grand total of $54 on Ari and Geta and as you can see, at least today. It’s working,” Allen said of the goose-free koi pond. The plastic alligator heads are anchored down and have limited range floating atop the pond.

“The koi are not afraid and bump into the plastic gator heads and that moves them around and make them look like they’re alive,” Allen said. Ducks Unlimited estimates three million Canada Geese live in the United States. The 100 or so that have called the Japanese Garden home apparently have taken wing to look for a new place to spend their days.    

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