State Sen. Tony Avella wants to establish a two-year moratorium on New York’s plan to eliminate all mute swans in the wild by 2025 and limit a few to captive situations like parks and zoos.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation proposed such a plan last month, explaining the long-necked white birds are an invasive species that are destroying natural habitats and harming native waterfowl. The measure has garnered petitions and public opposition, although it is supported by the National Audubon Society and other conservation organizations.
About 2,200 mute swans live in New York, according to the state, up from fewer than 700 in the 1970s. They are descended from birds brought from Europe in the 1800s to grace estates, wildlife experts say.
But Avella, a Queens Democrat, wants the DEC to show actual damage to the environment or other species by the mute swan population across the state. He introduced a bill last week seeking to delay the DEC’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,” he said in a statement. “The public outcry has been severe—many New Yorkers do not want to see mute swans eliminated and animal advocacy organizations, wildlife experts, rehabilitators and others have also joined the chorus of opposition.”
For more information about mute swans in New York, the state’s management proposal and how to submit comments on it by Feb. 21, go to www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7076.html.
(Photo by Frank Becerra/The Journal News)