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Mute Swans Could Permanently Silenced in NY Thanks to a Plan to Eliminate The Species

If you’re looking for a more graceful, beloved and recognizable bird than the swan, you’d be hard pressed to find one. Well, unless you’re in New York where the state might completely eliminate Mute Swans by culling, killing and trapping them.

According to the New York Daily News, New York is currently mulling over a plan to eliminate all wild Mute Swans within the next decade.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation calls Mute Swans an invasive species, which in a sense, they are. The first Mute Swans were introduced to North America by certain wealthy citizens who wanted the beautiful white birds to grace their ponds. They’ve since grown in population.

As expected, activist groups and animal lovers are thoroughly opposed to this plan. Here is a quote from Jeffrey Kramer of GooseWatch NYC from the article:

Kramer said the problems being associated with the swans are exaggerated, and says the solution can’t be to kill them or force them back into captivity.

“I don’t think we can just throw them away like a discarded toy,” Kramer said.

So what are these problems the state is citing? Studies have shown that Mute Swans reduce the density of submerged aquatic vegetation. Along with an effect on the native plant ecosystem, Mute Swans may increase in numbers and their aggressive behavior has a negative impact on other native waterfowl in the area.

The state estimates there are about 2,200 Mute Swans in New York, which is actually down from 2,800 in 2008.

Although the plan may be shocking to bird lovers, New York is no stranger to killing birds. Late last year, officials at JFK airport were killing Snowy Owls who were on the runway and in 2011, Canada Geese were being rounded up from parks and gassed.

Fortunately, this is still just a proposed plan and the state is accepting public comments until Feb. 21, so if you’re opposed to Mute Swans being eliminated from New York, feel free to contact Goosewatch NYC or make your voice heard.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.


  1. Something about this seems maybe not wholly correct. 2200 in a state the size of new york is minimal. Also theywill just repopulate from other states. There are probably hundreds of thousands of canadian geese in ny, and they are going after the swans? Hmmm.

  2. I would not think Mute Swans would be that prolific and cause a problem. Why not relocate them where people will appreciate them. I cannot believe people could kill Snowy Owls. What is wrong with these people?

  3. How awful this is. Please reconsider!

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