NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City plans to capture pesky geese that threaten planes departing area airports and send them to Pennsylvania to be cooked for meals for the poor, city officials said.

The plan is aimed at avoiding incidents like the forced landing of a U.S. Airways plane in the Hudson River in January 2009 after a flock of errant geese were caught in the engine during takeoff from LaGuardia Airport.

Mass culls to clear the geese from the area were authorized after the National Transportation Safety Board positively identified the remains of Canada geese in the engine of the aircraft.

The city will pay for the capture and transport of the geese to facilities in Pennsylvania where they will be distributed to Pennsylvania food banks, a spokesman for the city's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said.

"Rather than disposing of them in landfills, we wanted to make sure they do not go to waste," the spokesman said.

According to the DEP, no suitable locations could be found in New York that were willing to take the geese as donations.

Officials are currently surveying the New York area for large concentrations of geese.

Last summer, efforts to collect and gas thousands of geese were met with angry protests from animal rights activists.

(Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr., editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)

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