- Chris ChristieGovernor
- David ChandaDirector N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife
- Bob MartinCommissioner of Environmental Protection
Stop the Killing of New Jersey's Mute Swans
In February 2014, the International Swan Symposium was held in Maryland. At this meeting, swan specialists and researchers from around the world met. Many expressed concern and even presented papers showing that the Mute Swans were Sentinel birds, not an invasive species. Sentinel means that the Mute Swans alert wetland and waterfowl biologists and researchers that something is wrong with the environment, such as the presence of high levels of heavy metals, such as copper, lead and the presence of micro-organisms that can affect other species.
During the Symposium, Larry Hindman (Maryland DNR) and Barb Avers (Michigan DNR) presented papers and made the following statements when asked if the public was ever notified of the killing of the Mute Swans in their respective states. Mr. Hindman’s response: “We surveyed 625 people.” Did more of the general public ever know Hindman was asked? Hindman’s response: “NO, We did not do any widespread information, kept it out of the media and away from the general public, got the endorsement of Governor Ehrlich. We did it under the radar, most people did not know how or what we were doing until it was over, we went in, did what we had to do and got out. Never announced and never appeared on 6:00 news.” Mr. Hindman was also asked if there was ever any research prior to the killing or after the killing when “The Maryland DNR reduced 60% hatchings, removed swans using lethal methods, 2 nesting pairs left at this time. Since 2011-2013 1,683 nests destroyed, 9,403 eggs destroyed.” Mr. Hindman’s answer was “NO”. In addition, the nitrogen levels attributed to the Mute Swans and one of the reasons for killing the birds, is still HIGH. The Mute Swan can no longer be blamed in the Chesapeake Bay for these nitrogen levels.
After convincing the public, the media and politicians using misinformation regarding Mute Swans being invasive, non-native, and aggressive, and destroying the habitat with high nitrogen levels, Michigan’s DNR decided on a new plan in 2007. They want to kill more Mute Swans with or without the input from these same politicians, media and public that they had “buy” into the initial plan. Even though the PRESENT MUTE SWAN POPULATION IN MICHIGAN IS STABLE, they want to kill more. The numbers already killed: 26,000 birds. Barb Avers, (Michigan DNR) stated: That they would probably kill more swans without telling the politicians, media and general public which had agreed to the original plan. Ms. Avers also stated: “that the cost of the killing of the Mute Swans in Michigan was approximately $100,000-125,000 dollars by U.S. Wildlife Services, $25,000 Michigan DNR ( does not include the number of staff utilized or salaries) and did not address the amount of money spent to reintroduce the Trumpeter Swans (Alaska travel, harvest, incubate eggs, etc.)” In a paper presented by Michigan DNR officials, wildlife officials traveled to Alaska, harvested Trumpeter Swan eggs (the largest swan species in the world and breeding occurs in Alaska), the eggs were incubated at Milwaukee Zoo, with the eventual juvenile swans released in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and other states. Avers stated “the program (killing and reintroduction) will run out of money in the next few years.”
On April 4/17/2014, Sue Miller, a resident of New Jersey and taxpayer, contacted Mr. Ted Nichols (NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife) to speak with him about the state of New Jersey’s development of a plan to slaughter Mute Swans. Ms. Miller requested that Mr. Nichols inform her of the specifics of his plan to slaughter Mute Swans and was told that “ he is not obligated to give her any information about the State of New Jersey's proposal. ” Ms. Miller reminded him of The Freedom of Information Act, that she is a tax payer in New Jersey and believed that she was entitled to be informed.
The authorities at the Environmental Protection Commission and The Division of Fish and Wildlife in New Jersey are following the same patterns as Maryland and Michigan by quietly collaborating with the assistance of the USDA to reduce and eventually eliminate all the Mute Swans in New Jersey. In lieu of New York States failed attempt by the DEC to carry out a similar program it is obvious why New Jersey does not want the public to be aware of its recent actions in killing Mute Swans throughout New Jersey. As in New York State the same arguments that New Jersey is advocating as just cause to kill the Mute Swans are at best baseless and false without being substantiated by sound scientific research.
Wildlife management agencies, Ducks Unlimited and the hunting industry depend on public ignorance. A question that Mute Swan detractors will not answer: What is it about Mallards, Northern Pintails, cattails, or any other species of fauna and flora found in North America that is so vulnerable to Mute Swans in North America, while the exact same species do just fine in undisputed Mute Swan habitat in Eurasia?
These same entities state that the Mute Swan possibly carries HN51 (Avian Flu) and should be eradicated, when research has shown that most mallards and other duck species as well as Bar Headed Geese are the main carriers. Why are these species not being eradicated? Why are Trumpeter Swan eggs being taken from Alaska at taxpayer expense, incubated at Milwaukee Zoo and released into areas that they do not normally breed? Why are pheasants and other non-native species not being eradicated as being non-native? The answer is hunting. Trumpeter Swans are being introduced at taxpayer expense to develop a Trophy Waterfowl to increase state and federal wildlife budgets with more expensive hunting permits. By removing Mute Swans, the hope (and this is a hope) that Trumpeter Swans will move into these areas and begin to breed, thus, setting up more swans to be hunted and more permits to be sold. Partners with these same state and federal regulatory agencies include the National Audubon Society and Ducks Unlimited. Additionally, seventy-nine percent of state wildlife managers are hunters. These alliances and wildlife managers are meticulously going from state to state to carry-out this plan. New Jersey is now on the front-line of killing Mute Swans.
Please call, write and email the following New Jersey State Officials to express your concern over the killing of the Mute Swans. Tell them you want this to stop immediately
- Governor of New Jersey
- Director N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife
- Commissioner of Environmental Protection
I strongly oppose what the State of New Jersey is doing to our wildlife. Stop the Killing of New Jersey''s Mute Swans now.
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