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Letter: State's flawed plan to eliminate swans

A mother swan and her eight cygnets are

A mother swan and her eight cygnets are seen swimming on May 14, 2012 in the pond at the Charles T. Church Preserve, also known as Shu Swamp Preserve, in Mill Neck. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Thank you for bringing the plight of mute swans to the public's attention ["Before banishing swans, show why it's necessary," Editorial, May 6.]

We couldn't agree more: The state Department of Environmental Conservation needs to provide substantial proof before action; the citizens of New York are due public hearings regarding the proposal; and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo needs to sign the bill this year for a moratorium on the DEC plan.

Unfortunately, the DEC intends to eliminate the swan. With the mute swan experiencing zero population growth and having a life span of 10 to 20 years, we can expect its elimination in New York as soon as 2025. The DEC plans to shake or oil the eggs so they don't hatch.

In addition, the DEC plans to render swans flightless, from clipping or pinioning, which is wing-bone amputation. We consider these procedures inhumane in otherwise healthy adult birds.

The fact is the swan doesn't even meet the state's definition of "invasive." The 2005 report of the state's Invasive Species Task Force says an invasive species "causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health." In 150 years, as Newsday has noted, the swan population has grown only to an estimated 2,200 across the entire state, with no proof to support environmental harm. And indeed, there may be economic benefits as people visit parks and harbors to see the swans.

Susan Krause

Elaine Maas

St. James

Editor's note: The writers are president and education coordinator of the Four Harbors Audubon Chapter.