No reprieve for ‘invasive’ mute swans

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Brooklyn’s mute swans may be silenced for good.

Gov. Cuomo vetoed a bill on Dec. 17 that was aimed at halting the Department of Environmental Conservation’s controversial plan to exterminate all mute swans in the state by 2025, putting the swans of Prospect Park and Sheepshead Bay back in the state’s crosshairs.

An animal-rights activist who is fighting to save the species said the governor’s decision ignores the pleas of elected officials and the public, who will be burdened with the cruel cost of killing the creatures.

“He ignored the will of the public, he ignored a near unanimous state legislature. That rarely happens,” said David Karopkin, organizer of GooseWatch NYC. “The government is just going to kill a lot of them and it is not going to accomplish anything, and it is going to waste a lot of tax dollars — and it is going to be ridiculously cruel.”

State conservationists have said the swans destroy aquatic plants, pollute water, endanger planes, and attack people. Swan lovers say there’s no evidence to that effect.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) introduced the bill to protect the elegant birds that are an iconic feature of his waterfront district. According to the assemblyman, the governor explained his veto by saying the Department of Environmental Conservation is revising its current swan plans. But Cymbrowitz said the department has a bloody history with swans.

“The governor’s office told me that DEC would be introducing a revised plan that would incorporate parts of the bill,” said Cymbrowitz. “I would like to find this reassuring, but DEC already promised to consider non-lethal methods for managing the swans and then last June shot two swans to death upstate in full view of the public.”

The Department of Environmental Conservation said it has met with various animal-rights groups, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, New York State Conservation Council, and Ducks Unlimited to discuss revisions. A spokeswoman for the department said it is finalizing a new plan, but she could not say when it would be made public.

“While there is not a confirmed date, the revised draft management plan will soon be released for another 45-day comment period,” Lori Severino said.

But Karopkin said the department has promised — and failed — to revise its program in the past, so he is going to continue to fight for the rights of those without a voice.

“The DEC has been saying they were going to release a revised plan for almost a year now,” Karopkin said. “We’ll keep fighting for the swans. We’ll keep fighting for all wildlife.”

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: Context added.
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Reasonable discourse

clarity from Brooklyn says:
The story doesn't tell us why the birds are being killed. A little clarity would go a long way in properly developing this story beyond hype and into something worthwhile reading.

BP - please do tell!
Dec. 23, 2014, 10:53 am
r from Bedstuy says:
Because this article does lack clarity,

From NY Daily News:

"The Brooklyn lawmaker hoped to put a two-year ban on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s plans to wipe out the state’s wild mute swan population by 2025. The agency considers the mute swans a prohibited invasive species with an aggressive streak that makes them dangerous to native wildlife. Cymbrowitz and Queens Sen. Tony Avella, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, claim evidence of the swans’ impact on the environment is inconclusive."
Dec. 23, 2014, 12:33 pm
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Pardon me, but I find this article to be lacking in the "information", or "info", as my son decribes it. It would be nice to have more, if you don't mind my input.
Thank you.
-John Wasserman
Dec. 23, 2014, 4:55 pm
invasive species from Brooklyn says:
If this is the reason the DEC gives for killing them, "invasive species", then who gave them the God Given Right to make that determination. So what, you make a government, say it's for the people, and justify justly wiping out what life you want by labeling it 'invasive'?!

Oh yea, I forgot that's what our government was founded on, the innocent slaughter of life. They called them "Indians" which we now call "indigenous people".

Give us a break, the DEC is suppose to be protecting the environment, not killing it! We have the Federal, State and City government for the killing part.

Dec. 24, 2014, 10:41 am
ty from pps says:
good thing at Christmas your goose is cooked!
Dec. 24, 2014, 12:45 pm
gimme from yours says:
Fear of a swan planet boiiiieee!
Dec. 24, 2014, 3:06 pm
Marion from Brooklyn says:
Clarity from Brooklyn...they are lying about them, blaming them for what humans have done to the environment. Such as blaming them for the decline of the black tern in NY state. But if you look at their own website on black's mostly human activity including a dam on the St Lawrence river that destroyed their nesting sites. So as long as humans and their activity are THE major problem....scapegoating the swans will do nothing for the black tern or any other thing they are accusing them of. And the fact is the mute swan has remained fairly stable for over 20 years. So why now all of a sudden do they all have to be massacred?? Same old mismanagement of animals and scapegoating them that is so prevalent today.
Jan. 22, 2015, 10:48 am
Marion from Brooklyn says:
Dangerous to native wildlife??? Fact is their own study showed they were most 'dangerous' during nesting and that was towards OTHER MUTE SWANS AND CANADA GEESE. So they care about other mute swans and Canada geese?? They don't really bother smaller is the big visible ones that may attract predators when they are nesting or have babies. And furthermore...the other birds rarely left the area...they just move to other parts of the pond or lake. So this is more misleading propaganda by the DEC. They lie as good as the USDA.
Jan. 22, 2015, 10:52 am

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