DEC to Consider Non-lethal Alternatives to Swan Cull

Mute swans.
Mute swans. Photo credit: Tony Hisgett

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced Friday that, in response to feedback it has received, it will revise its plan concerning the mute swan population in the state and ask for public input once again.

The DEC had proposed completely eliminating free-ranging mute swans from the state by 2025. The agency calls the mute swan an invasive species that is aggressive toward humans and other animals. In response to its proposal, the DEC states it has gotten 1,500 comments from individuals and organizations plus 16,000 form letters and 30,000 petition signatures.

“The draft plan for management for mute swans received significant public interest and DEC received many thoughtful and substantive comments,” DEC Commissioner Joe 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.”

The DEC expects the revised plan will acknowledge regional differences concerning swans when it comes to potential impacts on the environment plus regional population goals. The agency also said it will consider “non-lethal” means to achieve its goals.

In addition to reviewing all of the comments, the DEC states that it will meet with stakeholder groups to identify all swan population management options before finalizing its revised draft plan.

“The revised plan will seek to balance the conflicting views about management of mute swans in New York,” Martens said.

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