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Letter: Killing deer and mute swans on LI

White-tailed deer intrude on the property of a

White-tailed deer intrude on the property of a home in Southold on Nov. 13, 2013. Credit: Randee Daddona

Those who advocate for or against culling our deer population have probably forgotten why this population was much lower a century ago ["How to tame LI wildlife?" Letters, Jan. 26].

Ecologists have a name for our deer problem: fragmentation. Huge swaths of forest have been destroyed for development. We have developed our original forest land into a checkerboard of buffer zones -- open lots, backyards, etc.

White-tailed deer chomp along the edges of these areas because penetrating light increases the growth of vegetation. More food equals more deer.

The same concept applies to golf courses and Canada geese.

Tom Stock, Babylon

The idea that we can restore our environment to the days before mute swans is preposterous. There are an estimated 2,200 of these swans in the wild in New York, more than half on Long Island. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has announced plans to eliminate all of them from nature -- by shooting them, destroying their eggs and nests, and capturing a few to live in captivity.

The DEC says swans are an invasive species, although the agency admits they've been here for at least 130 years. The agency says the swans can be aggressive toward people in protecting their young, a trait we admire in other species, including humans. And the swans displace other birds and plants. The last idea involves a faulty premise.

One of the tenets of Darwinism is that nature is always changing. Species move around, and the number in any given area will rise and fall. The causes may be very cold or mild winters, very hot or cool summers, drought or great rain, and hurricanes and nor'easters, not to mention fast-changing bacteria and viruses.

Given all this, our ability to make predictions about the state of nature, with or without swans, is extremely limited. Add to that the fact that humans brought the swans here.

The repulsive DEC plan to kill off our wild swans is based on wrong thinking and should be abandoned.

Richard Gambino, Sag Harbor