N.Y. state officials backtrack on swan cull plans

Public backlash moves N.Y. conservation officials to reconsider swan eradication plans.
By Brooks Hays  |  March 3, 2014 at 11:50 AM
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ALBANY, N.Y., March 3 (UPI) -- After an outpouring of support for the state's swans flooded the inboxes of New York's Department of Environmental Conservation -- including 1,500 comments, 16,000 letters, and 30,000 petition signatures -- New York wildlife officials are backing away from plans to kill swaths of the sometimes petulant bird.

Earlier this year, the agency announced plans to list the mute swan as an invasive species, and made public a plan to eradicate 2,200 swans by 2025.

Not surprisingly, public outcry soon followed. And last month, Tony Avella, the state senator from Queens, proposed a ban on the agency's plan.

"I was horrified to learn that our state wildlife agency would make such an extreme, unfounded proposal, and do not believe that the DEC has provided evidence to justify the elimination of these beautiful swans," Avella said.

But a ban may not be necessary, as officials have promised to revise their stance of the state's mute swan population.

“The draft plan for management for mute swans received significant public interest and DEC received many thoughtful and substantive comments,” DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens said. “DEC is listening to these comments and concerns and will revise the draft plan and provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the revised plan this spring.”

Mute swans, noted for their elegance and beauty, were imported from Europe during the second half of the 19th century to decorate the lawns of wealthy estates.

[Department of Environmental Conservation]

Topics: Tony Avella
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