STOP THE KILLING OF MUTE SWANS IN MICHIGAN
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On January 13, 2011, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources presented a proposal for Mute Swan Management to the Natural Resource Commission. Their proposal not just denies the waterfowl rehabilitator to take in any injured mute swans, but it also will force them to render any mute swans they have in their possession. These swans will be killed.
Most waterfowl rehabilitators take care of these animals on their own time and money. They choose to take care of them because they feel it’s not the animals fault when they get injured due to careless fishermen that leave their lures, bobbers, hooks , empty worm cans and fishing line behind, or when an animal gets hit by a boat, car, or jet ski. That’s not “survival of the fittest” or “let nature take its course”. It’s called human error, and they should be able to care for these animals.
On February 10, 2011, The NRC voted 3 to 2, that even though the average number of mute swans that the rehabilitators take in in one year is only about 40 swans, they did not feel that the rehabilitators should care for what The DNR calls "a non-native, invasive species" that they are working on removing from all state land and eventually public and private lakes.
Also proposed in their management plan was the reduction of the mute swan population from 15,000 to 2,000 swans. "The Mute Swan Management and Control Program Policy and Procedures contains a goal to reduce the mute swan population to zero on DNRE lands. We will continue management activities to reach that goal." -Barbara Avers, DNR Waterfowl and Wetlands Specialist.
During the presentation, they neglected to say how they expect to do this. When asked, the "DNR specialist" admitted that they would be lethally shooting them through permits on public and private land. This would begin before the end of 2011. According to the August Mute Swan Forum Minutes, the swans will be tossed in landfills. Please e-mail us if you would like a copy of these extremely interesting minutes that lay out how they plan to carry out this inhuman management plan.
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The DNR claims that Michigan has the largest mute swan population in all states, but they have not provided any information in regards to population counts and the process resulting in 15,000 mute swans. Additionally, according to the 'Michigan's Natural Resources and Environment: A Citizen's Guide', Michigan has over 35,000 inland lakes and ponds. No comment was made by the NRC when this figure was brought to their attention and why this much water was not enough for all the waterfowl in our state.
The DNR claims that the mute swan is a "non-native", invasive species that is very aggressive towards the trumpeter swan (native swan), ducks, loons (http://michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12145_12202-32587--,00.html, does not mention mute swans as cause), and the Canada goose. If the mute swans were aggressive towards the Canada goose, chasing and eliminating them from the same lakes, why is the DNR permitting goose round-ups every single year? The DNR has not given any GOOD reason to the unnecessary goose round-ups where mute swans are present. Also, the DNR has failed to prove that mute swans are indeed non-native. In fact, there is evidence that shows the complete opposite. Just because the DNR says there is no evidence that supports this, does not mean it does not exist.
The DNR claims that the "non-native”, invasive mute swan is destroying the natural sub aquatic vegetation (sav) in our lakes. The DNR, to this day, has not produced or provided the public with any Michigan studies showing these findings. According to the Mute Swan Forum minutes, the data the DNR is using to support their claims are from the East Coast, Maryland mostly. Maryland has not one natural lake.(http://www.funtrivia.com/askft/Question65579.html). According to the DNR website Michigan has 26,857 inland lakes. There are a number of other factors which DNR has failed to reference. Since mute swans eat algae, they can be valuable in shallow bay areas, in rivers and ponds. They are also insectivores and will eat small insects. The trumpeter swans, species they are trying to replace the mute swans with, are about the same size as mute swans and can also consume significant amouts of vegetation. Also, when asked if the use of fertilizers, pesticides, motorized boats, jet skis, etc. played a more important role in the destruction of our lakes, no answer was provided.
The trumpeter swan was almost hunted into extinction by the 1900's. According to Trumpeter Swan Society 2006, the trumpeter swans have been "placed" by wildlife management agencies, often in areas in which they never bred historically, to create a "trophy" species for sportsmen. Once the mute swans are exterminated, they will go after the trumpeters like they did in Wisconsin: http://blog.greenconsciousness.org/2008/11/first-mute-swans-were-shot-to-save.html, Utah , Montana and Nevada, http://bijou36.tripod.com/Trumpeter_Swans.htm (scroll to end of page).
As for human - swan conflict, The DNR claims that the mute swan is aggressive towards humans. The DNR does not have accurate and complete records regarding human-swan conflicts according to the Mute Swan Forum Minutes. The mute swan will not attack a human unless at some point in his life someone has come too close to his nest with a jet ski, boat, etc., or has tormented it on purpose. They, like us, won’t forget if they have been bullied or hurt by someone. They will protect their young. It’s an instinct that all normal and GOOD parents have. The waterfowl are going to protect themselves if they feel threatened, as we would if we feel threatened. It’s a natural reaction and it’s common sense.
Please sign our petition to stop the Michigan Department of Natural Resources from killing the mute swans!
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