New York State Senator Tony Avella says he does not believe “that the DEC has provided evidence to justify the elimination of these beautiful swans.”
‘I was horrified to learn that our state wildlife agency would make such an extreme, unfounded proposal,’ says Avella.
It could be the swan song — for the swans. A Queens politician is sounding the alarm about the state’s proposed plans to “eradicate” the graceful, long-necked birds by 2025.
State Sen. Tony Avella is demanding that the Department of Environmental Conservation “demonstrate that actual damage to the environment or other species have been caused” by the swans. "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," said Avella, a Democrat.
Avella was echoed by Friends of Animals honcho Edita Birnkrant. The “DEC’s hateful attitudes towards mute swans must be reversed,” she said. “They are out of step with the very residents of New York whose tax dollars fund the agency."
There was no immediate comment from the DEC, but on its web site it is seeking to have the birds declared a “prohibited invasive species.”
Imported by rich folks from Europe in the last 1800s to populate their private ponds, the swans have multiplied to the point that they’ve become a pest that befouls water, displaces native birds, and are “potential hazards to aviation,” according to the agency.
While beautiful, the DEC contends the largest wild birds in the state are also ornery and have displayed “aggressive behavior towards people.”
They number around 2,200 and are most numerous on Long Island and in the lower Hudson Valley, and have started spreading in recent years to Lake Ontario.