The state’s plan to wipe out the entire population of mute swans by 2025 has bird advocates worried about graceful fowls that flock to Prospect Park.
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Next time you go to your favorite park to see those large, white birds of regal repose, better bring a camera. You may never see them again. New York State’s mute swan may become the first animal to be managed into extinction by 2025. This proposed, premeditated extirpation is the endgame of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) newly released draft “Management Plan for Mute Swans in New York State,” calling for the elimination of all free-ranging mute swans. The plan is fallacious and insidious, another misuse of taxpayer monies to promote killing and molestation as a wildlife management science. The DEC states that their population of 2,200 has actually stabilized.
Seized from its native lands, the mute swan has become our neighbor for the past 130 years since being shanghaied to this country because of its timeless beauty. It has been a fixture in the imagination of man since early civilization, but also has been persecuted for almost as long.
The DEC’s justification for its scheduled disappearance — using deceptive language and misconceptions — is almost identical to the reasons given for the slaughter of over 5,000 resident Canada geese (a native, North American bird) in New York City: a potential aviation hazard (birdstrikes); aggression while nesting (ironically, the mute swan’s main target is Canada geese); and loss of water quality from coliform bacteria. Here, the DEC, along with its cooperator, the USDA-Wildlife Services, is killing two birds with one stone.