The swan population in New York is invasive in nature, and to counter population growth, state environmental officials have revised their plan for thinning the flock. The revised plans were released on Monday, and are likely in response to public pressure, according to a report from the New York Times.
New plan more humane
The original plan, which included killing the birds by shooting or gassing, was embraced by conservationists and few birding groups, but was denounced by animal-rights activists, elected officials and others. The new plan focuses on reducing the negative impact of the swans rather than killing. “Complete elimination of mute swans from New York is not a viable option, given the expressed public opinions associated with these birds,” says the plan.
The state has about 2,200 mute swans, and last year a blueprint was released by the state Department of Environmental Conservation early for their abolition. Non-deadly control measures are emphasized in the new plan, but killing of birds is still allowed.
The objective of the plan is to bring down the number of swans in the New York City region drastically from 2,000 to close to 800, which is the same number before the swans began to multiply in 1980. These large birds were introduced in late 1800s from Europe, and since then have become a nuisance for other species such as ducks and geese. These birds are even responsible for attacking people and also pollute water with their feces.
Details on plan to control mute swan population
The officials, acknowledging the backlash against the original plan, have pledged the use of ‘nonlethal methods’ for killing of swans wherever possible. However, official’s cautions that the alternative ways of controlling the population of swans include measures like clipping off their wings and oiling their eggs so that they do not hatch, are very expensive. Hence, implementing those will require “commitment of funding and assistance.”
Under the new plan, education programs will be carried informing the public about the risks of mute swans. Also, officials plan to come up with a regulation that will ban the feeding of the swans, along with adding them to the list of migratory game birds, thus making it legal for hunters to shoot them in season.