N.Y. plans to eliminate wild mute swans by 2025

New York wildlife officials are proposing to eliminate wild populations of non-native mute swans under a 10-year management plan that calls for shooting the birds, sterilizing them and destroying their eggs.
AP Wire
Jan 21, 2014

"We've been getting a lot of comments on the plan," Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Lori Severino said Monday. "It's a draft plan, and we're encouraging public comments."

The DEC estimates the state's mute swan population at 2,200, with three distinct populations on Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley and along Lake Ontario. Native to Eurasia, the elegant birds were imported in the late 1800s to grace parks and estates and have established wild populations.

"They're an aggressive, invasive species," Severino said. "To protect our own native species, the plan was necessary."

The Atlantic Flyway Council, made up of state wildlife agencies, adopted a plan in 2003 to reduce the mute swan population. New York's population was to be reduced to 500 by 2013 under that plan. Instead, it has grown slightly, because little action was taken.

Mute swans have white plumage, an orange bill, a black face mask and a graceful curving neck. Native tundra and trumpeter swans, which are smaller, have black bills and straight necks.

Wildlife biologists say mute swans cause a variety of problems, including aggressive behavior toward people and other birds, destruction of aquatic vegetation, degradation of water quality, displacement of native wildlife species and potential hazards to aviation.

Maryland has an aggressive control plan that reduced the population of mute swans from nearly 4,000 in 1999 to 200 in 2010. Michigan's wildlife agency has said it wants to reduce the state's mute swan population from about 15,500 to less than 2,000 by 2030. Connecticut and Rhode Island have control programs that include nest and egg treatment or removal. Ohio is also working on a control plan.

But culling programs have drawn criticism from humane organizations.

GooseWatch NYC has posted an online petition opposing New York's mute swan reduction plan and criticizing the Department of Environmental Conservation.

"Its plan to utterly eliminate this majestic creature from the face of its land reflects an agency that has lost touch with its core mission as well as with the greater voices to which it must ultimately answer," the petition says.

The department's proposed plan says hunting could be one effective way to reduce the mute swan population. Allowing people to take swans out of the wild to keep in captivity under a special permit also could help, the plan says. It would outlaw importation and breeding of mute swans.

The plan calls for the department to kill swans, destroy their nests, coat eggs with oil or pierce them to prevent hatching, and sterilize birds by chemical or surgical means. It also would authorize property owners to use the same methods to eradicate swans.

Comments

bigdeal

Good thing they don't do that to ALL immigrants!

grandhavenguy01

We are all immigrants. Just WHO are you referring to?

Citizen

Easy, killer - that comment seems a bit innocuous to be pulling out the indignation!

bigdeal

I was born here, 3rd gen American born. I am not an immigrant, but for the record, let it show grandhavenguy01 is an immigrant.

Tri-cities realist

Shouldn't be much of a surprise in New York, gov. Cuomo said that the state has no place for people who are pro life or pro 2nd Ammendment.

When I tend to agree (but perhaps for different reasons) with a quote from a group called Goosewatch, it makes me wonder what is going on in New York. Perhaps our resident east coaster could enlighten us.

Wolverine49457

Now the swans know the plan so don’t be surprised if the swans are plotting how to get rid of the people.
There was no problem turning off the water to the bread basket for a minnow I’m a little surprised they aren't making the people leave instead...there must be liberal coffers and votes at stake...then killing is encouraged.

polarize

Maybe they taste like chicken! Lol

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