Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Quite a Quandary...

The Baltimore Sun reported this morning that the Department of Natural Resources is all set to execute the less than 500 remaining mute swans said to be an aggressive and environmentally hazardous invasive species. From the article:

Mute swans have been a flash point in the management of Maryland wildlife, pitting bird lover against bird lover and putting animal advocates on opposite sides. Over seven years, the battle has been waged in federal court, in Congress and in Annapolis, as each side has tried to block the other. Even the task force report and the minority opinion show the deep divide. The majority concluded the birds are "aggressive" and an "environmental hazard" that should be eliminated, if possible. But Grandy and Joseph Lamp, a member of the state's Wildlife Advisory Commission, called them a "beautiful, engaging and captivating part of the Chesapeake Bay" that should be "treasured and maintained for the enjoyment of citizens."

Biologists say adult swans eat up to 8 pounds of underwater grasses daily, eliminating critical vegetation that filters bay water and controls erosion. Ornithologists complain that the non-native swans push native birds such as least terns, black ducks and tundra swans out of nesting areas.

Like many, I am torn on this issue. Particularly after reading just how the birds would be eradicated:

...That means shooting adults or snapping their necks, and coating eggs with vegetable oil to suffocate embryos.

Definitely check out The Sun's article and this previous post for a little history about how these swans came to be such a "menace" and the debates surrounding them.

No comments: