WINDSOR, Ontario, May 1 (UPI) -- A cull of 211 cormorants on Canada's Middle Island in Lake Erie last year cost $130,000, or $616 per bird, national parks officials said.
The uninhabited island is part of Point Pelee National Park. Federal officials undertook the controversial cull claiming the birds' droppings were killing off trees and vegetation needed by the endangered Lake Erie water snake and red mulberry tree, five threatened species and two species of special concern, the Windsor Star reported.
This year's ongoing shooting cull has netted 752 birds, the report said.
The Cormorant Defenders International environmental group unsuccessfully tried to block the cull last year, and spokeswoman Liz White told the Star she hoped the costs would rattle taxpayers.
"I suspect a lot of people would say what the hell are you spending the money for? It's an island in the middle of the lake," she said.
The group claims the cormorants will only keep returning to the island year after year despite the culling, the newspaper said.