Michigan takes aim at mute swans; 13,500 to be eliminated

Michigan officials are asking residents to help shoot and kill 13,500 mute swans.

Photo: Karen Stamper

But before hunters and fearful lakefront property owners grab their rifles, defenders of the birds are asking for more research to spare the lives of these lake dwellers.

One issue is whether there could be confusion with the swans that are native to Michigan.

“It makes no sense that these swans can’t coexist. The mutes have been here so long and people like feeding and watching them,” said Karen Stamper, a Walled Lake resident and mute swan advocate. “We have more water in our state than most other places in the world.”

Efforts to achieve the state’s long-term goal of killing the birds by 2030 have begun. State employees have killed some and they are letting residents know that with a permit, they can do the same.

All the Great Lakes states report problems with an increase in mute swans that displace native swans and other species, destroy wetlands and even intimidate boaters. Wisconsin and Ohio have killed mute swans in recent years; Michigan has the most ambitious plan yet to kill mute swans.

Michigan also has the largest mute swan population in North America with 15,500, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

[polldaddy poll=6143972]

The mute swan is non-native to North America and is increasing in population 9 percent to 10 percent each year, which is causing some big problems, according to Barbara Avers, a waterfowl and wetlands specialist from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

They were brought to the U.S. from Europe in the 1800s for their beauty. Some escaped captivity, establishing populations in several states. Michigan’s population began with one pair in Charlevoix County in 1919, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

One of the biggest problems: Mute swans’ aggression toward humans is increasingly dangerous for people in boats and on shore, Avers said.

“They are considered the most aggressive waterfowl species in the world,” Avers said. “So as we see an increase in the species, we are also seeing an increase in reports about mute swan attacks.”

Although most of the hostile behavior directed at people is bluffing, mute swans can inflict cuts, bruises, sprains and bone

Photo: Michigan.gov

fractures. In at least two cases on the East Coast, mute swan attacks resulted in human deaths, according to David Marks, a wildlife disease biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Mute swans keep one of Michigan’s native swan species, the trumpeter swan, from breeding. Both favor similar habitats for breeding and the mute swan begins nesting three weeks earlier than the trumpeter, defending the entire area. The trumpeter swan is on the state’s threatened species list.

“People often say to us that the swans they see aren’t causing any problems,” Avers said.

But some of the problems go below the surface.

Mute swans eat underwater plants. They uproot them, eating far less than what they grab. That destroys the habitat for native species, especially the fish.

“If you have a large flock of mute swans feeding on this bed of vegetation you can imagine that in a pretty short time, they can do quite a bit of damage,” Avers said.

There isn’t a hunting season, but the state allows citizens to register for free permits to shoot mute swans. Such permits first became available in 2006, but with the recent goal of killing thousands of mute swans, the state is re-publicizing their availability.

Permits are also available to destroy their nests, a less efficient method of reducing the mute swan population, Marks said.

With a permit, people can remove nests and destroy mute swan eggs. Although this slows population growth, it does not stop the adult mute swans from continuing to mate.

Stamper, along with other mute swan advocates, dispute the reasons cited for killing 90 percent of the state’s mute swans.

The aggressiveness is just instinct, Stamper said. Humans act the same way when protecting their young.

“I have pictures of a red wing black bird chasing a goose that went too close to its nest,” Stamper said in a letter to a local government agency. “I have a goose going after a swan that was too close to its babies. It’s nature. The same thing happens when a hawk or crow takes a baby from a blue jay, starling, or wren. It does not matter how large or small the animal, they will go after anything that tries to harm their baby.”

Photo: Karen Stamper

She worries that lakefront owners may not distinguish one type of swan from another. Native swans could get killed during the attempt to destroy mute swans.

“If they think there is a swan out there and it shows any kind of aggression or they can’t get their jet ski out, they aren’t going to care if it’s a trumpeter or a mute,” Stamper said. “If it’s in the way, they are going to kill it.”

The most significant difference between mute swans and native swan species is that adult mute swans have orange bills and native swans have black bills. Mute swans also have a black knob on the top of their bill and native swans do not, according to the state’s website.

Although mute swan population control first began in 1960, Stamper started a petition to stop the killing in February 2011. She has received 2,000 signatures and the attention of the state.

“We realize they are a very beautiful species, they are very conspicuous, people come into contact with them a lot and love viewing them,” Avers said.

But eliminating the mute swan is for the greater good of all other things living in Michigan, she said.

Stamper doesn’t believe there has been sufficient research done in Michigan to support that position.

More Michigan-based research is coming.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services recently received funding to look into some unanswered toxicology questions about the species in Michigan, according to Marks.

The mute swans that have been killed yield useful information, Marks said.

Researchers will be testing for toxics and contaminants to see whether mute swan meat is safe to eat.

“They are not typically a species people eat but we do get asked that question,” Marks said. “If you want to manage your mute swans you can work with the DNR to get a permit and people always want to know, ‘can we eat the meat?’ and nobody here knows how it tastes yet.”

Because mute swans typically feed off the bottom of a lake, which is where pesticides and heavy metals tend to accumulate, Marks feels more research is necessary before humans consume the meat.

Some of the mute swans that have been killed are tested for influenza, Newcastle disease and parasites that cause swimmer’s itch to see if mute swans play a role in transferring these illnesses.

Invasive nonnative species are a longstanding environmental threat. The nonnative emerald ash borer is an example of an invasive species that killed thousands of trees in Michigan beginning in 2002. More recently, the nonnative feral or wild swine’s rapidly increasing population is on the state’s radar. The feral swine hosts parasites that threaten humans, domestic livestock and wildlife.

Marks expects some results from the mute swan research will be available to the public by March of 2013.

And for the people living in Michigan, perhaps mute swan will be on the dinner table by next Thanksgiving.

Filed Under:
About Erica Hamling

Erica graduated in 2012 from Michigan State University where she studied journalism, specializing in visual communications. She was an intern at WDIV - Channel 4 in Detroit. In addition to writing, Erica is interested in photography, publication design and broadcast. E-mail: Hamlinge@msu.edu

  • Scientist

    For those of you who say there is no research on this issue, I thought I’d give you a list so you can educate yourself a little. I think it also may show you that it’s not just the MI DNR “spreading propaganda”.

    MUTE SWANS DISCPLACE NATIVE WILDLIFE SPECIES:

    Allin, C. C., G. C. Chasko, and T. P. Husband. 1987. Mute swans in the Atlantic Flyway: a review of the history, population growth, and management needs. Trans. Northeast Sec. Wildlife Society 44:32-47.

    Allin, C. C., and T. P. Husband. 2003. Mute Swan (Cynus olor) impact on submerged aquatic vegetation and macroinvertebrates in a Rhode Island coastal pond. Northeastern
    Naturalist 10:305-318.

    Ciaranca, Michael A., Charles C. Allin and Gwilym S. Jones. 1997. Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/273

    Hindman, L. J., and W. F. Harvey. 2004. Status and Management of Mute Swans in Maryland. Pp. 11-17 in Perry, M. C., ed. Mute Swans and Their Chesapeake Bay Habitats:Proceedings of a Symposium: U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Discipline Information and Technology Rep. USGS/BRD/ITR20040005.

    Koechlein, A. 1971. Nest site selection by Mute Swans in the Grand Traverse Bay area, Michigan. M.S. Thesis, Michigan State University, East Lansing USA.

    Petrie, S. A., and C. M. Francis. 2003. Rapid increase in the lower Great Lakes population of feral mute swans: a review and recommendation. Wildlife Society Bulletin 31:407-416.

    Stone, W. B., and A. D. Marsters. 1970. Aggression among captive Mute Swans. New York Fish and Game Journal 17:50-52.

    Therres, G. D., and D. F. Brinker. 2004. Mute Swan interactions with other birds in Chesapeake Bay. Pp. 43-46 in Perry, M. C., ed. Mute Swans and Their Chesapeake Bay Habitats: Proceedings of a Symposium: U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Discipline Information and Technology Report USGS/BRD/ITR20040005.

    Willey, C. H. 1968. The ecology, distribution, and abundance of the mute swan(Cygnus olor) in Rhode Island. Master’s Thesis, University of Rhode Island, West Kingston, Rhode Island, USA.

    MUTE SWANS DESTROY WETLAND HABITAT

    Allin, C. C., and T. P. Husband. 2003. Mute Swan (Cynus olor) impact on submerged aquatic vegetation and macroinvertebrates in a Rhode Island coastal pond. Northeastern Naturalist 10:305-318.

    Bailey, M., S. A. Petrie, and S. S. Badzinski. 2008. Diet of Mute Swans in the lower Great Lakes coastal marshes. Jrl. Wildlife Management 72:726-732.

    Ciaranca, Michael A., Charles C. Allin and Gwilym S. Jones. 1997. Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:
    http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/273

    Eichholz, M. W., J. D. Stafford, and A. C. Phillips. 2009. Impacts of Mute Swans to Native Vegetation and Waterbirds in Illinois. Annual report to Illinois Dept. Nat. Res., Div. Wild. Res., Fed. Aid Proj. W-135-R-02. Coop. Wildlife Res. Lab., S. Illinois Univ., Carbondale, IL. Unpub. 35 pp.

    Fenwick, G. H. 1983. Feeding behavior of waterfowl in relation to changing food resources in the Chesapeake Bay. Ph. D. dissertation, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

    Gayet, Guillaume. 2010. Colonization of an Heterogeneous Freshwater Ecosystem by a Waterbird Herbivore: Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) in Dombes Fishponds. Ph.D. thesis at University of Montpellier 2 Sciences and Techniques. Montpellier, France. 173 pp.

    Hindman, L. J., and W. F. Harvey. 2004. Status and Management of Mute Swans in Maryland. Pp. 11-17 in Perry, M. C., ed. Mute Swans and Their Chesapeake Bay Habitats: Proceedings of a Symposium: U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Discipline Information and Technology Rep. USGS/BRD/ITR20040005.

    O’Hare, M. T., R. A. Stillman, J. McDonnell, and L. R. Wood. 2007. Effects of Mute Swan grazing on a keystone macrophyte. Freshwater Biology 52:2463-2475.

    Owen, M., and C. J. Cadbury. 1975. The ecology and mortality of Mute Swans at the Ouses Washes, England. Wildfowl 25:31-42.

    Perry, M. C., P. C. Osenton, and E. J. R. Lohnes. 2004. Food habits of Mute Swans in the Chesapeake Bay. Pp. 31-36 in Perry, M. C., ed. Mute Swans and Their Chesapeake Bay Habitats: Proceedings of a Symposium: U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Discipline Information and Technology Rep. USGS/BRD/ITR20040005.

    Petrie, S. A. 2002. Mute Swans make noise: lower Great Lakes population scrutinized. Birding 34:642-644.

    Rees, E. C., J. S. Kirby, and A. Gilburn. 1997. Site selection by swans wintering in Britain and Ireland; the importance of habitat and geographic location. Ibis 139:337-352.

    Sousa, C. M., R. A. Malecki, A. J. Lembo, Jr., and L. J. Hindman. 2008. Monitoring habitat use by Mute Swans in Chesapeake Bay. Proc. Annual Conf. Southeastern Assoc. Fish Wildlife Agencies 62:88-93.

    Tatu, K. S. 2006. An assessment of impacts of Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) on submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. Dissertation, West Virginia University. Morgantown, WV.

    Tatu, K. S., J. T. Anderson, L. J. Hindman, and G. Seidel. 2007. Mute swans’ impact on submerged aquatic vegetation in Chesapeake Bay. Jrl. Wildlife Mgmt. 71:1431-1439.

    MUTE SWAN MANAGMENT IS SCIENTIFICALLY BASED:

    Allin, C. C., and T. P. Husband. 2004. An evaluation of 22 years of Mute Swan management in Rhode Island. Pp. 19-22 in Perry, M. C., ed. Mute Swans and Their Chesapeake Bay Habitats: Proceedings of a Symposium: U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Discipline Information and Technology Report USGS/BRD/ITR20040005.

    Ellis, M. M., and C. S. Elphick. 2007. Using a stochastic model to examine the ecological,economic and ethical consequences of population control in a charismatic invasive species: mute swans in North America. Jrl. Applied Ecology 44:312-322.

    Harvey, W. F. 2000. Mute swans in Maryland: Using a population model to help develop management strategies. Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service.

    Petrie, S. A., and C. M. Francis. 2003. Rapid increase in the lower Great Lakes population of feral mute swans: a review and recommendation. Wildlife Society Bulletin 31:407-416.

    Rhode Island Dept. Environmental Management, Division of Fish and Wildlife. 2007. Mute Swan management plan. Prepared May 30, 2006.
    http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/bnatres/fishwild/pdf/muswan07.pdf

    Watola, G. V., D. A. Stone, G. C. Smith, G. J. Forrester, A. E. Coleman, J. T. Coleman, M. J. Goulding, K. A. Robinson, and T. P. Milsom. 2003. Analyses of two mute swan populations and the effects of clutch reduction: implications for population management. Jrl. Applied Ecology 40:565-579.

  • EthicalOne

    Hunters do not care for animals.
    Caring is not killing for sport and profit.
    This overpopulation thing is a myth, man is overpopulating and shrinking wildlife habitat which makes them look “overpopulated”.

    FWS allows poaching extinct in the wild animals such as Scimitar-horned Oryx in ranches.

    FWS allows it and now they’re banning it because of an outcry.
    Hick hunters only want them to exist to be hunted and whoever support this are guilty just as these scumbags.

    They are too selfish to breed them back to the wild.
    Instead they breed to poach them in ranches.

    Same as hunters do NOT care for species that doesn’t provide them markets in certain areas,

    Example wolverines extinct or critically endangered in Labrador and Quebec.

    “They look at the wolverine as another fur-bearer resource,” says Huot. “As we indicate that the wolverine won’t be an important fur-bearer resource in the future because, naturally, the animal is rare and the skins are not of important value, they aren’t interested in being involved with the return of the wolverine.”

    You see all these hicks trappers and hunters only care for its skin not the animal. The DNR and other government based groups doesn’t want to reintroduce species from its former range if the species doesn’t provide profit for the hick’s own selfish needs.

    Source: http://www.naturecanada.ca/endangered_know_our_species_wolverine.asp

    So sportsmen hate animals and doesn’t care for animals.
    Anyone saying I am mislead are egoistical scumbags and horrible human beings.

    I get source from NON-ARA groups.
    Such as neutral groups and pro-use groups.

    So if you call me a liar it means you call yourself a liar as well because I got sources from your side.

  • Thor

    Golly Gee DNR rogue you are missing the CONTROL aspect of the issue. The REAL DNR folks only wish to control the burgeoning population and are not pushing for extinction of the species. It is also noteworthy that many folks in the region are threatened by the birds and those mute swans are capable of injuring or killing folks let alone other species on the lake. You also refused to address the words I spoke versus the claim that Janice made that the beautiful birds should not be killed for no other reason that they are beautiful which in turn threatens the ability of other more ugly species to thrive in that same watershed. DNR Biologists and Wildlife management throughout North America has created a better healthier environment which gives us the expanded stream of wildlife that we all cherish so much.

  • Tom M.

    The lakes are full of invasive species,just restoring habitat and not addressing the bio-pollution, only makes it nicer for the invasive species.

  • Jim

    I have seen these swans swim from over a hundred yards just to grab ducklings and shake them till they die and swim off. Seen a pair once kill an entire family of ducks while the male mallard tried to fight one of the swans off. They are agressive all year and not just when they have babies. I have observed these swans for years and they do have a negative impact on duck populations. Get rid of them and drop them off at the soup kitchen. Does anyone really think the DNR allows them to be shot just to have something else to kill….really. Your probably the same people that are looking forward to the implantable chip from Obama care. Most responsible hunters can distinguish a bright orange beak over a black one, just like animal activists have their idiots so do we. Just because we hunt doesn’t mean we are too stupid to recognize colors. Get a real issue to care about like saving children or feeding homeless people.

  • DNR Rogue

    Thor,

    Regarding the Mute Swans’ beauty – their beauty, if not a reason to save them, is not a reason to kill them, either, and it is as if some people take the view that there is something noble about being indifferent to beauty.

    The reason not to destroy a species, beautiful or not, invasive or not, is how harmful is it and can that be controlled nonlethally. Even the Zebra Mussel is being used experimentally and under controlled conditions to clean up environs.

    Since the MDNR has done none of its own research to prove anything about the Mute Swan’s “damage”, and since their only population count consists of ONE guy with binoculars in a small plane spot checking over 11,000 lakes and they have not even done this every year, their evidence is deeply lacking.

    Mute swans do pull emergent vegetation, but how much, and why is this harmful? On the contrary, this can actually be beneficial as it can delay the loss of wetlands through succession (the natural transformation of marshes and other small wetlands as vegetation fills them in). There is also the issue of why this is not a problem in Eurasia and Europe, where the Mute Swan is native and where the geography is similar to ours. There are volumes of research on those areas and none of them demonstrate any damage.

    There is NO research here, and yet, you are gung-ho on killing the swans.

  • DNR Rogue

    Paul,

    You say “I have often wondered how many animals, fish, insects, amphibians and reptiles would be extirpated or even extinct if it fell to the antis to conserve them?”

    The Canada Goose and Trumpeter Swan, to mention only 2 of many species, were made nearly extinct earlier in the last century BY HUNTERS overkilling them. The current resident Canada Goose overpopulation was created to a large degree by The DNR, USF&W and Game Commissions restocking the birds and then forgetting about them when communities built over 60% of their wetland habitats. The Trumpeter Swan is being set up to be a HUGE problem because they are being placed n areas they never traditionally existed, virtually guaranteeing the same fate as the Mutes eventually. The Passenger Pigeon was made completely extinct by OVERHUNTING.

    I could go on but I think I’ve made my point.

  • DNR Rogue

    Ben,

    Some hunters are ethical but many others, especially but not exclusively the younger ones, ARE jerks. There are plenty of these yahoos who film their activities and post them on You Tube – which shows you how dumb they are, because they can be traced and then they are caught and fined. They chase down and exhaust the animal with all-terrain vehicles, they take animals out of season or over their limit or they get endangered ones and try to hide the evidence (and the DNR and related agencies have buried and hidden plenty of illegal kills themselves). There was a group of hunters who shot several deer, did a sloppy job of it, so they decided to finish them off by putting plastic bags on their heads. While the deer were suffocating and dying, these guys were actually petting them and the morons filmed all of this. This was just perverse. No hunter would condone that, and there is more of this nonsense than you would believe. It’s no wonder that the environmentalists and animal activists hate hunters when they see this. Plenty of hunters have told me that they hate the bad reputation these guys give to the rest of them. Often, it is the ethical hunters who turn in the bad ones.

    There are a lot more animal organizations out there than PETA and HSUS and I can’t condemn them when they do good things like dog rescues and what they did in the Gulf oil spill to help the ocean wildlife. Not many hunters went down there to help. There are a lot worse things to be than a tree hugger, and you’d be a fool to discount the political power these people are just starting to get. They haven’t been as organized as the hunting groups, but that is most definitely changing. They are becoming a powerful voting block and politicians being what they are know this. The power is going to tip to them eventually. All the thunbs down and denials are not going to change that. A goose hunt was called off earlier in the year in Idaho because more people were interested in using the hunt area for hiking and photography – no one was interested in a hunt.

    This article is not about hunting in general – it is about the swans. The fact is, the MDNR has not compiled any research to prove what they are claiming and the onus should be on them to do some form of impact statement demonstrating a real, not imagined, problem that warrants endless persecution of this species.

    Wrong is wrong, I don’t care what side you are on.

  • Ben

    Dude grow up. I hunt fish and trap. I use as much of anything that i can. In reality the majority of hunters use almost all of what they kill. Humans have been hunting for hundreds and thousands of years, and if you think some stupid comment you post without any proven fact can change thousands of years of human nature, your sorely mistaken. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and i respect that but, once you start condemning an entire society you cross that line. The majority of the hunting community uses all that they can of what they kill. Also we do NOT promote “slow painful deaths” or any sort of “animal cruelty”. The majority of hunters strive for a quick, clean kill. Now a question for you, How do you know so god damn much about what hunters think if your a tree hugging bunny kisser? Hunters do not enjoy animals suffering, I’ve lost a lot of sleep over animals I’ve had even clean misses on. Hunting is not “pure hatred”, its simply a natural instinctive act to provide for your self and your family. Also I resent the “inbred redneck” comment. I am a redneck, and I’m not inbred, and to classify all of us as inbred’s is just as bad as any other form of racism. Your statement that hunters don’t care about animals and that they view them as resources to be used and thrown away is completely off center. While hunters do view animals as a resource, we still care significantly for the well being and the deer populous. EthicalOne, go read up on the facts and actually learn about what hunters have in mind and actually stand for before you go around slandering the hunting population.

  • Paul

    Oh the antis are going wild again, spouting their venom at hunters, and showing how ignorant they are about the entire history of regulated hunting in this country. I have often wondered how many animals, fish, insects, amphibians and reptiles would be extirpated or even extinct if it fell to the antis to conserve them? How many Trillions of dollars would they have provided to preserve and enhance habitat, provide legal protection, study and define the life needs of critters, and set aside land and water for those needs? Based on what the antis spend their money on now, publicity, fund raising, protesting, lobbying, high priced administrators and lawyers and euthanizing domestic animals. Not much! I suspect that many native species would not exist in current abundance, and others would not be found except in zoos.

    So antis, keep on fuming and fussing while the real conservationists, hunters and fishers, keep on doing the good work they have done since Teddy Roosevelt commissioned them to do so.

  • DNR Rogue

    As a 20-year former DNR biologist, I know for fact (because I was involved in some of these coverups) that the DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are the Federal agencies that introduced fish that decimated other fish, poisoned huge lakes to get rid of those fish and destroyed all life in those lakes; lied about finding lynx hair in the forest to create interest in a new program to be funded by taxpayers; through utter mismanagement, allowed the kill-off of our most important fish species along both coasts because of commercial pressure; killed off millions of song birds through spraying programs and the introduction of raptors into areas where the smaller birds never had such a threat before; caused the destruction of habitat for millions of birds by filling in wetlands and allowing the destruction of forests……the list is endless and continues on a daily basis.

    The people writing here(on a strictly grade school level)who are hunters and DNR supporters were absolutely told to write and vote to skew the results. If you notice, not a one of them is giving any supportable facts or research – just like the DNR. Just a lot of lip and insults, which the moderator ought to be removing. The only intelligent data here is from someone named ABS. This person has to be an insider, he knows too much at a high level that very few people know. I had clearance to some of this stuff but not all – but it’s all accurate.

    There are people documenting what is going on for legal purposes and this issue is far from over.

  • EthicalOne

    Sport hunters do NOT care for animals.
    They only want animals to exist to use them as “resources”.

    There is a difference between caring and using.
    Using is NOT caring.

    To a hunter an animal is here to be killed for sport that’s it.
    I see overwhelming sources of hunters saying if animals doesn’t provide resource to the people they’d rather not help the animal and let it go extinct. Is why sportsmen hicks doesn’t help areas with non huntable species. I never heard of sportsmen helping endangered species and hotspots with non huntable species.
    Sport hunting is indulging in sadism and pleasure over the suffering and or death of animals.

    If someone kills someone for no reasons is hating the person so it comes same for killing an animal for sport and or profit.
    Is pure hatred.
    Sport hunters will use inbred redneck excuses to get away with sport killing and hugging these DNR, FWS and USDA scumbags and scums of the Earth pigs.

  • William

    The DNR came out to our lake community to do their talk about the swans and how they have to kill them. It was clear that they wanted to get our community behind this. It was exactly as ABS described: they sent a very likable guy out and were completely evasive when we questioned them. They literally could not deviate from their script, which was evident to us was complete propaganda. After they left, we agreed that we did not want anything to do with them or their plan. In fact, we came up with a plan to get our swans to safety if it ever comes to that, which is why I’m not saying where I live.

    The only difference from previous years was that in the past, they would come out in the dead of night and do this in secret. Then they would lie to us and tell us the swans flew away!

    Reading the ratings in this section is a joke – my brother in law hunts and he actually got an e-mail telling hunters to comment and vote in favor of killing. I probably wouldn’t even have known about this article and commetary if I hadn’t been visiting his house and saw the e-mail. So no, you are NOT getting the accurate viewpoint of the total general public. If you don’t live on a lake, most of the public doesn’t even know about this issue and doesn’t believe it when you do tell them – it sounds so preposterous to them.

    I also know the family that the DNR came into their home and shot their swans through their window. The family was so traumatized by that they are still under the care of doctors, and that was a few years ago.

    Karen Stamper is a woman who is fighting for the swans and she is brilliant and extremely well-informed. The DNR is afraid of her because she shows you what they really are. She should have the support of everyone who is opposed to this obscenity.

    Some of us live in Michigan because we want to enjoy the diversity of wildlife, not to kill it.

  • tom

    I live on a lake and have done so for most of my 55 years of life. I have seen many changes take place , both good and bad. Swans are one of the changes that started out good, but like most cases have proven that too much of a good thing can also be bad. I am also a hunter. A hunter is someone who cares about animals. If we didn’t care we would have nothing left to hunt. To kill all of the swans is not the intent. To keep the swans at a level that will not hurt other wild life or plants. A true hunter is humane and knows what he is shooting at. You ID your target before you shoot. If you are not sure of your target, or you van not make a good shot, you do not shoot. In shooting a water foul. you not only check your target, but also what is behind the target. I have eaten swan meat in other countries and states and it is good eating.

  • Ben

    The fact of the matter is that even if they were a native species, their population is getting large enough that its our duty to hunt and kill a limited number of the animals to keep their population in check. They take food sources and cover from other animals that have, in my opinion, a higher priority due to they are native species. And EthicalOne, you quite frankly are full of sh*t. your statement that we should be responsible for their actions and that something needs to be done is virtually impossible without culling some of the population back down to a normal level that other species can live with the swans. And just because an organization advocates the killing of animals in controlled amounts doesnt mean they are ” money craving and animal hating scumbags” So until you actually understand conservation of our natural world and wildlife, please shut up.

  • Thor

    Janice said:

    The first word that comes to my mind when I see any swan is BEAUTY!
    Let’s keep the beauty in our world. Save the Swans!!

    Using your logic we should allow the beautiful to starve out the ugly critters in the lake system because they can not compete for the food or breeding areas that the Mute swans wrested from the ugly. Using your emotionalism as a measuring stick is what enabled supportfor Arayan race biggotry & worse.

  • EthicalOne

    We should find other ways to control them by not killing them.
    Man has introduced them so man should be responsible for his actions not blaming the birds for our greed.

    I am sure hunters introduced them like they did to other invasive species so they hunt them because they are too lazy. Killing something for sport is indulging in sadism, they will find excuse for killing things for sport.
    Hunters are the invasive species.
    Man is an invasive species because he colonize many parts of the world and destroying all rainforests and native species.
    Many species are vanishing because of man.

    Man is a hypocritical and irresponsible species.

    Man cries about invasive species overpopulating and hurting the ecosystem but says nothing about us doing the same exact thing.

    So man think is ok to destroy all life and commit genocide but not ok for something else to do it because we introduced it.

    Man should be responsible for his actions and or numbers.

    Research should be done first.
    But these hick hunters and pro-animal use prefer killing because they obscess on hatred toward animals, they are the true hate mongers.
    I am no PETA member. I’m pretty independent.

    DNR, FWS are evil they support poaching.
    USDA are terrorists and bio-terrorists.
    They use dangerous hydrogen cyanide based devices that can endanger farm-animals, children, nontargets and even endangered species.
    It causes a slow and painful death.

    Also they are responsible for the mysterious fish and bird death last year that freaked out many people.

    DNR, FWS and USDA are just money craving and animal hating scumbags.
    They treat them as “Resources” which is an act of speciesism.
    They indulge in sadism and cruelty toward animals.

    And again man should be responsible for his action, destruction to the ecosystem and population before dictating wildlife.

  • ABS

    Michigan has never done one iota of its own research concerning Mute Swans. It co-opted Maryland’s research and Maryland’s reserch was thrown out of court as junk science. Junk science means the research was worthless.

    Because none of the Maryland’s research done by government agencies showed that the Mute swans caused more than minimal damage AND because those agencies refused to do a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assessment as ordered by federal court (which would permanently prove that the birds do no real harm, ending plans to kill them once and for all) AND because those agencies are determined to get rid of the Mutes and bring in the Trumpeter swans in their place as a more desirable trophy hunting animal, Congressman Wayne Gilchrist of Maryland, to appease the hunting libby that helped him get re-elected, unethically changed the law. He and his co-horts amended the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and they did it through what Sen. Joseph Lieberman called an “illegal act” in Congress, tacked onto another piece of legislation – The 2005 Omnibus Budget Bill, a 5,000 page document – and passed with only a committee vote, not votes by the full House and Senate. The president did not know this legislation was there. By law he MUST sign the Budget Bill.

    This took away protective status for not only the Mute swans, but for 100 other species including cranes, cardinals, the brown pelican and other birds, many of which are on endangered lists. All this to get to the Mute swans and appease the hunting lobby.

    The “war against the Mute swan,” as described by Ruth Gale, of the Trumpeter Swan Society, was launched to announce a program to kill off Mutes in Yosemite on the basis that they might compete for habitat with the larger, more aggressive Trumpeter swans. The Society is peopled by many state and federal agency people, most in retirement, and has been funded for many years by U.S. tax money. Their original goal was to reestablish populations of Trumpeters in their historic range, but that changed, to putting them everywhere from coast to coast and creating a new “trophy bird,” the largest waterfowl on this continent, to which Harvey Nelson, then president of the Society, agreed. Mute swans were to be “neutered and pinioned and placed in parks,” a one generation extinction on this continent.

    An unethical killing, powered by underhanded law.

    You have to wonder about people that want to kill SO MUCH that they will go this far to do it.

  • ABS

    John,

    I’ll give you reference to one item that you might find interesting. Read a book titled – “Mad Sheep: The True Story Behind the USDA’s War on a Family Farm” by Linda Faillace – and draw your own conclusion.

    This is the frightening true account of a Vermont farming family driven out of business by a government agency cover-up over mad cow disease and corporate greed protecting the American beef industry (not the American public), which had been compromised by sloppy USDA management. Still is. The government hit people involved in this family’s massacre were rewarded with promotions and consultant jobs in the fast food industry.

    What happened with these sheep and the USDA happens with various other animals and is supplemented by various other government agencies. It is all about money and protecting special interests, abuse of power and nothing else.

  • ABS

    John,

    Many years ago, when I began working toward my Ph.D. in biological research and later rescue and rehab of animals and wildlife, I began to change my food habits to reflect my ethical beliefs. I became a vegan when no one ever heard of veganism. At that time, it was very difficult to even be vegetarian. Today, of course, when even Las Vegas offers vegan entrees in its restaurants and every supermarket stocks plenty of vegan and organic selections, it is remarkably easy, not to mention far healthier. Frankly, even I am surprised that 7 out of 10 young pepple that I meet have chosen a vegan diet, some for animal concerns, most for health reasons. When I first started my animal work, and some animal organizations were proposing a vegetarian diet for the world, I thought they’ll never get people to do this, even if it is the more intelligent and sustainable way for the world to live. No one is more pleasantly surprised than me that the vegan diet is the fastest growing diet in the world because people, as they have become more educated and more connected via the internet, are more aware of the dangers in factory farmed food sources, hormones, irradiation, etc., and don’t want their health compromised. Sometimes change comes about through an indirect route.

    I’m touched by your concern about my diet and clothing choices, John, but please know that there are numerous guides and sources both online and elsewhere for people interested in organic, animal-free products of every possible kind. I don’t need to wear leather either, as there are tons of alternatives.

    The growing popularity of the vegan diet is simiar to why hunting is declining and why agencies like the DNR and US Fish and Wildlife and Game Commissions are so desperate to preserve their jobs by any means possible, no matter how unethical. Eventually, even they will have to figure out that, to survive, they will need to listen to the environmentalists and start working to help wildlife instead of just provide targets to shoot. I would like to tell you that hunting is declining because people are better educated and value the animals more, having hunted many of them into extinction, but the fact is hunting is dying because with urban/surburban development, there are fewer places to hunt. This also means there is less habitat for animals.

    These agencies are so desperate to develop new hunters that they are constantly lowering the ages of children to the point of 5 and 6 year olds learning to shoot and kill – and this is why you have the case I just read yesterday of the 10-year old who accidentlly shot his father while on a duck-hunting trip. So now you will have a 10 year old in analysis probably for the rest of his life over guilt no child should ever have and a family deprived of a husband and parent, and a wage-earner in this bad economy. A heavy load for this family. And it all could have been avoided had this father taken this child out to shoot ducks with a camera instead of a gun.

    Any psychologist will tell you that children view animals as their peers. When a parent takes a young child out to hunt, the child really doesn’t want to kill anything, but he/she DOES want to please its parent. And that is how parents use that love to warp a child and rob it of its right to childhood, which is far too short today.
    And the DNR and its crony agencies know this and they cultivate this to try to shore up its hunting numbers. Their studies show that the younger you get a child into hunting, the more he/she is likely to stay with it; that is how desperate they are to save a dying activity. Regardless, this isn’t the frontier anymore and arming children is nothing other than reprehensible.

    I must point out that you don’t have to be a vegan or a vegetarian to see something wrong with people who enjoy slaughtering animals for “fun.” I liken it to people who are various stages of religious. At one end, you have people who are priests and nuns and at the other end you have people who only go to church once or twice a year. In between you have various levels of involvement. All of these people feel some need to go to church, even to a minor extent. Even among people I know who eat animals, none of them hunt and all of them want the animals treated with humanness, even in the method of slaughter. My own group of friends prefers to support small family farms where even if they do eat animals, the care and humaneness, not to mention the health aspect, is far superior to impersonal large-scale food farming.

    You may hunt for sustenance, but there are plenty of people hunting today who kill for the pure pleasure of killing. Landfills are full of deer carcasses and You Tube is full of cretins filming themselves taking does with their fawns. My argument against hunting is not about survival – it is, simply, what is it in you that even wants to kill something that is not threatening you or harming you.

    As for not being from Michigan, I do not live in Michigan NOW, but my family was originally from the area, also Wisconsin. And I have been working with animal issues over 30 years and the swans in particular for 8 years. I know this issue from the inside out and from every political to governmental agency to biological perspective.

    So you think I have no credibility with the general public, John, despite the volume of information I have provided that NO ONE would know unless well-researched or connected? If we go by the people writing here (obviously highly compromised by the hunting organizations urging), the “general public’s” level of intelligence consists mostly of statements like “Kill the swans. Kill. Kill.” THAT is a rant, John, and the general public gives that virtual illiteracy a thumbs up and real information a thumbs down. They don’t WANT to acknowledge real data because they don’t want any information to interfere with their desire to kill.

    I think we are LIGHT YEARS apart in our beliefs.

  • John

    ABS,

    Since its obvious from you rants that you don’t believe in killing animals I think its fair to ask. What did you have for dinner last night? How about all the nights before that one? Last night I had beef it came from a local farmer, night before that we had fish a friend hand caught and brought over to share with us. The night before that we had seared venison steaks from a deer I killed in late December bow hunting.

    My boots and belt are made of leather what are yours made of?

    I realize your passionate about your beliefs but you are making a lot of accusations without sources or data to back them up and therefor losing your credibility with the general public. You have already stated your not from Michigan but your claiming to have all this insight into the MDNR.

    I get it you don’t believe in killing anything its a nice concept in the sanitized world most live in today. Its of course totally unrealistic but don’t let that fact get in the way.

    You and I are probably not all that far off in our beliefs. I absolutely rail when I see the damage done to the natural world by humans in the name of progress. However the fact that I when possible kill what I eat myself instead of paying for someone else to pump it full of chemicals and hormones and then kill it for me is probably to big of a difference for you to overcome.

  • DNR Rogue

    I applaud you ABS – you are spot on and apparently the only commenter on this page who has intelligence and real data. Everything you have written is the God’s honest truth.

    As an ex-DNR biologist, I can tell you after 20 years of working for this agency that it has become corrupted and self-serving. Many of us are not happy with what we see. There is entirely too much unnecessary killing of wildlife going on under this agency’s direction, and I am fed up with the way I have seen it falsify and distort statistics and outright lie to suit its own aims. The DNR has done plenty to introduce invasive species, some far worse than what they claim about the Mute Swans, because the way we preserve our own very nice jobs is to cater to the hunters, even to the detriment of wildlife. But what the DNR has done with the swans is the worst. It is completely unconscionable.

    In the case of the Mute Swans, at our internal meetings, they would pass around false numbers and question whether we could get away with this material with the public. The fact is, they have no respect for the public either – they think you are stupid and will believe anything if is presented by a pleasant enough personality, so that is what they do, and they seem to be right in their assessment. They sent a very likable DNR representative around to all the lake communities to speak on how “destructive” the swans are and he is specifically taught how to sidestep any intelligent questions, because the fact is, these swans are NOT destructive – no more so than the Trumpeters – and we have no real science to support what we are doing.

    I can also tell you that the reason these comments are so weighted toward killing is that the DNR, US Fish and Wildlife and various hunting groups send out alerts and spread the word to their supporters to comment. The people who like the swans don’t tend to respond to articles like this because they aren’t organized as hunters are, and extremely few are as knowledgeable as ABS. Furthermore, other than hunters, most of the public doesn’t like or trust the DNR, and rightly so.

    There are some good DNR people but over all, this agency has gotten out of control and arrogant. You are being suckered and the animals are being killed. And that was not what I went into the DNR to do.

  • ABS

    Michigan has a horrific program of lethal culling of an undisputedly “native” species, the Double-crested Cormorant, which is one of the major predators of the Round Goby, and also the Alewife, another non-native fish species, but one that the wildlife managers love because it is a major prey species of Salmonids…trout and salmon.

    However, several of those salmon species, and most particularly the Coho Salmon, are themselves not remotely “native” to Michigan, and would not be there without taxpayers footing the bill to constantly replenish them from fish hatcheries. They have a very negative effect on native fish species, including native Salmonids such as the Brook Trout, that rhe DNR doesn’t worry about because they are boney and not as edible as the “alien” species they keep dumping into the Great Lakes with no regard for their effect on native wildlife. this makes them complete hypocrits to their concern about the swans. By the way, when they reach a certain size, because of bioaccumulation of heavy metals, they should not be eaten – they’re just caught for fun. Maybe the taxpayers of michigan ought to demand a better use of their money, like help for the elderly or homeless.

    Thisis the kind of double standard that pervades wildlife management policy.

    regarding the Trumpeter Swan, the scientific evidence that it historically nested in Michigan is actually slight. It may have done so, but we don’t know that it actually did, and yet it is being released throughout the Great Lakes and beyond, into areas where we have no proof that it nested historically, although it no doubt migrated through eastern states and provinces, and part of its population did winter on the east coast (where it must surely have eaten as much of the same kind of vegetation as the Mute Swan).

    The Trumpeter is as large as the Mute, maybe a little larger, and as aggressive (my favorite story about that is about one of them grabbing and shaking a small airplane…I don’t think Mute’s ever done that!) It is also LOUD. It was nearly exterminated, but it has come back under protection from hunters (although even as children contribute pennies to protecting it, hunters in some States are allowed to kill it, since they can’t be expected to be able to tell it from the Tundra Swan, a hunted species in some, but not all, jurisdictions where it occurs on migration).

    Mute Swans, both in Eurasia and here, tend to be relatively non-migratory. In theory, Trumpeters are highly migratory, and that’s the appeal…non-migratory birds are hard to hunt.

    But in reality, the introduced Trumpeters tend to also be non-migratory. On the contrary, in some urban settings the Trumpeters are just as “tame”, just as “free-loading”, and non-migratory as the Mutes. They have never learned to migrate. There is no “sin” attributed to the Mute Swan that does not apply to the Trumpeter, with the possible exception of pulling up emergent vegetation…I don’t know if Trumpeters do that, and if so, as much as Mutes. However, this is actually a positive trait, particularly in cattail marshes, where it may retard the natural succession of vegetation, and ultimately prolong the existence of the wetland…a more valued habitat than what ultimately comes next when succession remains unchecked. (And, of course, what little they do is nothing compared to the wetland expansion of, for example, Ducks Unlimited.)

    Let’s compare the Asian Carp to the Mute Swan. The Asian Carp is a new arrival. No one wants it here, and the risk it poses is very specific. It did not co-evolve with the same species as it finds in North America.

    But the Mute Swan has been here over a century – since the 1600′s in some areas. What species has been wiped out in that time, on any level beyond that involved with protecting the area around its nest? And how does that differ from what the Trumpeter Swan does, a spoecies which we are currently introducing in earnest. Why are species of waterfowl in North America, i.e., the Mallard, or the Northern Shoveller, or the Northern Pintail, so sensitive in comparison to the species the swan interacts with in Eurasia – species like the Mallard, the Northern Shoveller, or the Northern Pintail? That’s right – THE SAME EXACT SPECIES.

    The DNR don’t get asked such questions, don’t answer them, don’t care.

    I could go on. There is something psychologically appealing to some people (and repulsive to others) about resolving problems by killing. Shooting, itself, has a deep-seated psychological appeal according to Freudi. I have to wonder what the DNR is doing about the risk to native wildlife posed by some of the ubiquitous and wide-spreading non-native vegetation? It’s easy to shoot deer, virtually impossibe to uproot enough Garlic Mustard to make a difference, and yet the latter is non-native, unlike the deer, and far more damaging to indigenous plant species in the forest, and at least equally problematical in terms of altering forest cover against the interests of native wildlife.

    The whole thing is one insane joke, but unfortunately, one perpetrated by people who have that most dangerous of things: a little knowledge. Detach it from common compassion (that is, from the desire to NOT kill) and you get the current situation. I don’t think there’s a thing you can say to change the minds of these types – those minds are firmly closed. Facts don’t matter. There is no nuance. They are oblivious to their own hypocrisy even when you shove their noses into it. The world is not how it is, to them and their destructive kind; it is how they want it to be.

    The next time a wildlife manager tells you that deer have to be killed to prevent them from starving, ask them why they allow the dumping of Ring-necked Pheasants into the environment? Pheasants are just as susceptible, more so, to deep snow as deer, and starve each winter, and are not, unlike deer, native, and yet somehow it is okay to continually add them to the wild.

    Oh, and unless you wipe out ALL Mute Swans in the wild continent-wide (they’ve occurred as far north as James Bay) and forbid them being kept in captivity forever in all of North America (and the state of Michigan lacks that ability, so forget it) or even imported on to the continent, what will be accomplished in the long run? And even if such a massive program could be accomplishes –guess what, folks? They do have the ability to arrive on their own. Indeed , many may have come here under their own power.

    Ask the DNR if we should exterminate the North American population of the Eurasian Wigeon? That is a duck species that is very closely related to the American Wigeon, but they diverged far enough ago to evolve into two distinct species, separated by oceans, although still very similar in appearance to each other (Google them). Except that the Eurasian Wigeon is increasingly showing up in North America -in fact it’s regularly here, and probably breeding. That is how it is -species are forever changing their range, contracting it here, expanding it there. Yes, the Mute had human help but the real question is where’s the harm? Why is it bad and the Trumpeter Swan good?

    You’ll never get an answer from the DNR.

    Don’t you think you should demand one before you go destroying a species?

  • ABS

    Here’s what the DNR stands for, folks: they actually have the right (so they think) to come into your HOME and shoot swans that may be on your private lake right through your living room window, in front of your family and children.

    This is what you do when Osama Bin Laden is living on your lake, not a bird.

    This is the DNR’s argument aginst the swan: “We don’t know, we kind of think it may sort of, maybe possibly do some damage, we have never really seen any real problem, actually the algae amd chemicals we put in our water is the real problem, but the public doesn’t know the difference. If we tell them the swans are bad, they’re dumb enough to believe us. After all, we’re the government- we lie to them about everything else and they buy it. They’ll buy this too.”

  • Paul

    Dear ABS– You have had your say, too much of it I might add, so now it is my turn. As a lifelong hunter and resident of MI and DNR retiree I do not want you in my state. I do not want your company or product, whatever that may be. Most of all I do not want your opinions, which are ignorant, uneducated and filled with venom for what you obviously do not understand. Take your rhetoric to the nearest PETA or HSUS Chapter and spew it there, they will applaud you loudly which is what you are seeking. MI is better off without the likes of you.

  • ABS

    David,

    Thank you for having the integrity and honesty to correct what is clearly an oversight based on “normal” commentary. And you even are getting thumbs down on THAT! Says something about the people reading this article, and not very good things.

    This is the first time I have ever been PROUD of getting negative votes, because on a board so slanted by obviously hunt-lust crazed savages or brainwashed puppets who just feed on each other, intelligence and science isn’t part of the equation.

    Someone even commented that he takes his 2 year old out in a kayak – where is the mother who allows an idiot father to put a 2 year old in such danger? These people should be declared unfit parents. Sad and pathetic that people like these are raising children to hate and kill animals.

    Michigan, you have EARNED your new license plate:

    MICHIGAN: LAND OF MINDLESS MORAL-LESS MURDERERS

    Now give me your traditional thumbs down and then stick it back where it belongs.

  • http://CoverThePlanet.org David Poulson

    ABS,

    This site had been set so that if a comment got 10 times as many down votes as up votes then it would go to a hidden status – although users could still click to reveal the comment.
    Frankly, we were unaware of the setting until this story. This is the first one we have had that has generated enough negative votes to trip the differential.
    We’ve set things so that the comments should continue to display. Thanks for calling our attention to it.

  • ABS

    Do you people not realize that the only reason Michigan and other areas are trying to rebuild Trumpeter Swan populations, even going so far as to slaughter the Mute Swans and place Trumpeters in areas where they have never before existed (thereby making Trumpeters invasive species in tthose areas)is so people can KILL THEM????

    They already hunted them to near extinctiononce, and now they are doing this again. This plan has been in the works for DECADES.

    All some of you exist to do is kill. And frankly, those of you who like to shoot at tame large birds that sit in the water are the farthest thing from sportsmen. You are gutless cowards full of hate for something else in your life, taking it out on innocents.

    ABSOLUTELY this article and comments to manipulated by the hunting lobby. There is no data that is legitimized by any scientific study. MICHIGAN DIESN’T EVEN HAVE ITS OWN RESEARCH! It never did any environmental assessment on the swans. NOT EVER.

    The inflated swan population counts someone listed here are outrageous and do not reflect reality in the least. The swan population has never been more than 20,000 at the most in the entire United States and has remained constant for several hundred years. They are falsified government vomit, regurgitated and spit back. When the DNR comes out to lake communitites, they fall apart the minute they are questioned – they literally have no answers, but they don’t have to because some of you will believe anything no matter how insane. Barbara Avers of the DNR is the WORST pathetic excise for an “expert” I have ever seen in my life.

    The fact that hunters believe this nonsense doesn’t surprise me – they desperately want to kill and they will believe anything that substantiates what they want to do. And the agecnies lie because it serves their own purpose. The corrupt leading the stupid.

    i never liked hunting, but there USED to be hunters who had some ethics and concept of fair challenge with the animnals they hunted. They RESPECTED and HONORED the animals. Todays hunters are moral-less creeps.

    Oh, and hiding comments that don’t get rated the “right way” is censorship, people. The American public has the right to read ALL of it without having to hunt for it.

    At least the America I used to know.

  • Harold

    Too many of these comments are indicative of the low level of discourse which is now tolerated in this country. Snide, ignorant remarks too often dominate each side of any discussion. It’s as if we have lost all ability to be civil.

    Although we live in a society that values majority rule, we need to keep in mind the rights of minorities…and hunters are clearly a minority in America, as most people do not hunt. In order for the privilege of hunting to continue, the hunting community should learn to temper their statements towards non-hunters, as some have sincere beliefs against hunting. On the other hand, non-hunters–unless totally vegetarian–should try to accept that hunting puts meat on the table that is free-range in the best sense, and that is not laden with antibiotics.

    There needs to be a balance in the discussion of hunting in light of the diminished habitats we face today. Hunting is an honored tradition, but only if hunters retain respect and can keep it as such.

  • Mark L

    OK all you folks that want mute swans because you like to see them- how about a different set of thoughts? Imagine a Michigan filled with our native and majestic TRUMPETER SWANS! If you’ve never seen one (most folks haven’t)Go out of your way to do so, and fast. Nothing beats the real thing! They are out there and breeding thanks to the concerted efforts of our wildlife agencies. Help get these mutes out of the way so we can have more native trumpeters (and ducks and all the other waterfowl that mutes displace).

  • TBUS

    Ok to those that believe there are only 15K to 20K in the entire USA.

    In Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota alone those states killed that many last year combined! Its just not publicly broadcast because of the flak these DNR people would take for doing so. But now because the problem is getting out of hand and the Department of Natural Resources for these states don’t have the funds to continue it they are asking the Hunting/Sportmens communities for help.

    2012 Mute Swan Projected Removely Numbers
    Michigan – 13500 (posted)
    Ohio – 7000 (posted)
    Wisconsin – 9000 (posted)
    Minnesota – 3000 to 6000 Estimated.
    Couldn’t find any projected removely numbers for Minnesota yet.

    Just from those states alone even if you don’t include Minnesota there going to remove alot more then 15 to 20 thousand!

  • ABS

    The hunting groups must have roused their brain-dead constituency to vote on the discussions – all the intelligent comments with legitimate data have gotten more thumbs down and the idiot comments by people who can barely squeeze out a coherent sentence have gotten thumbs up. All you people seem to live for is to kill something, and that attitude was instrumental in my family’s decision not to open the latest division of our business in your state. 2800 jobs over the next 2 years, with full benefits and corporate matched 401k, but we want a better ethic than what we see from you, so we are putting our next facility where people aren’t so devolved and savage. We had no idea michigan was full of such horrible people.

    When you account for the slaughter you have done, to the Highest Judge, I hope you will be shown the same mercy that you have shown the swans.

    Here’s Michigan’s new licence plate: MICHIGAN – MINDLESS. MORAL-LESS. MURDERERS.

    SHAME on you.

  • NTR LVR

    Or quite possibly, Debra, the majority opinion is not what you would expect.

    Most Americans (80%+) favor hunting as a means of population management. It is an obnoxiously loud, vocal minority who delude themselves and each other into thinking there’s something wrong with humans killing animals.

  • Debra

    I think this website and comments are all rigged in favor of killing the mute swans.

  • swan boy

    I don’t know how someone can say they are not aggressive. Read the following article and make up your own mind.

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headline…mans-drowning/

  • SUZANNE

    KILLING IS NOT A SOLUTION, NEVER IS. FOLLOW THE MONEY, SOMEONE MUST BE GETTING $ TO SUGGEST & DO KILLING & SO IT COSTS TAXPAYERS LOTS OF $. HUMANE SOLUTIONS ARE THE LASTING SOLUTIONS, THIS IS 2012, NOT 1860.

  • Drew

    Mute Swans should be eliminated from the state. They create many problems with native species, such as Black Terns and Trumpeter Swans. The reason that the overseas countries have no problems with Mute Swans is that the swans are native there and the ecosystem functions have had time to adapt to their presence. Now, without starting a war, I’d like to say that the DNR folks do this for a living and have probably thought harder about it than you have. They are not out to get us. They are not out to kill the wildlife. They do not make up false information. They are certainly not out to find something else to hunt.

    However, I do sympathize with the swans on this issue- they are not deliberatley destroying the environment. But what will you do? Feed them antifertility pills? If so, I wish you luck on finding an army of people who’ll do that. Hunters could take out Mute Swans- and thus, hunting is the only practical way to eliminate them in the state at the present time.

  • Kim

    When listening to the “evidence” against Mute Swans I wish everyone would really pay attention to what they are being told. You will hear a lot of phrases such as “the potential to cause damage” or “may cause damage”. That’s because the few studies that have been done on Mute Swans have either been inconclusive or contradictive, and no legitimate biologist is going to put their credibility on the line with an outright false statement.

    The only real question here should be whether Mute Swans need to be controlled. If the answer is yes, then we have a duty to find a non-lethal, humane solution. It makes no sense to slaughter thousands of swans based on a potential for problems. Especially when anyone can still legally purchase a breeding pair of Mutes for about $2500.

    As far as being a danger to people, a bear is much more likely to injure a human in a conflict but I don’t think anyone would suggest killing all of them. In fact, when a mother bear attacks a human it is often excused as a mom protecting her babies. In most cases, nothing is done to the bear unless it actually kills someone, and sometimes not even then. If we can sympathize with a mother bear protecting her babies, surely we can give these majestic birds the space and respect they need to protect their young.

  • ABS

    The irrational level of hate against a bird is simply beyond belief.

    Especially when the bird is the majestic creature that has been the inspiration of the most famous classical ballet in the world, the subject of some of the most beloved fairy tales told to generations of children the world over, and the object of numerous works of poetry, music and art…..the greatest artists in the world have found creative influence in the Mute Swan’s grace and beauty….and yet, somehow, you comprehend none of this.

    Why is it only in the United States that this swan is any “problem?” The Mute swans have always been in Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Poland, all the former Soviet States, they migrate to India, China, the Mediterranean and northern Africa and yet NOT ONE of those countries has ever had the kind of swan problems the US Fish and Wildlife Service and DNR claim that we have here in the States. There are less than 16,000 mute swans on this continent, but 20,000 in tiny little Denmark; 22,000 in Britain, etc., in similar environments and with similar predators, and they have no problems. So what is wrong with us? Besides a massive lack of wildlife education for the public, a kill-happy mindset and an extreme gullibility to believe nonexistent data to support the killing we so want to do.

    Since 2006, the DNR has been killing the mute swans. According to the DNR, they will be eliminating 13,500 mute swans statewide. The DNR’s reason to eradicate mute swans is due to the great concern of disturbance and destruction of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) found in water as deep as 4 feet which mute swans consume.

    The DNR, to this day, has not produced and provided the public with any studies showing these findings. There are a number of other factors which DNR has failed to reference and cannot prove with factual data. First, 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. Second, if the mute swans are removed and replaced with trumpeter swans, these waterfowls are much larger in size and consume greater amount of vegetation and can easily destroy and deplete the vegetation as well. Third, if the mute swans are eradicated, why would the lakes not continue to be endangered by fertilizers, pesticides, motorized boats, jetskiis, etc.? Fourth, when using certain weed control methods on all the lakes, how do they know they are not destroying the (SAV) which need to be preserved?

    The DNR fas failed to mention all the articles which have been published in the papers in reference to the destruction and pollution of the Great Lakes due to algae.

    The DNR, to this day, does not even have a population count. There have never been more than 16,000-20,000 in the entire United States.

    The DNR claims that there are 11,000 inland lakes in Michigan. However, the DNR has failed to mention that there are 62,798 lakes in Michigan with an abundance of lakes, ponds, streams, rivers and retention ponds where any waterfowl can flourish.

    THE DNR IS USING FALSE PREMISES TO ELIMINATE THE MUTE SWAN POPULATION IN MICHIGAN TO COVER UP THEIR TRUE INTENT TO INTRODUCE ANOTHER GAME BIRD IN THE STATE. THEY ARE USING IMPROPER AND NON FACTUAL REASONS TO KILL OFF THE MUTE SWAN POPULATION ONLY TO INTRODUCE THE TRUMPETER SWAN, BECAUSE IT IS THE PREFERRED GAME BIRD BY HUNTERS.

  • Chris

    Kill all the swans on Muskegon Lake and White Lake.

  • Cord

    picked up two tags yesterday!! KILL KILL KILL THE MUTE’S

  • Paul

    Robert is “right on” in suggesting that some people will pick and choose which invasive species they wish to save from eradication. Mute swans, are beautiful to behold; purple loosestrife is colorful and to some beautiful; quagga mussels, the snake head fish, spiny water fleas, the sea lamprey and many other invasives are organisms likely only a mother could love. All these are detrimental to other native organisms or to our economies. Brown trout, ringneck pheasants and Hungarian partridge are introduced invasives that are not only beautiful, but, socially and economically very valuable. Many edible plants are introduced invasives, but, very valuable. The destructive and economically detrimental invasives should be controlled and eradicated, if possible, no matter their visual appeal.

  • Michigan Sportsmen

    Good Mute Swan is a Dead Mute Swan. We use the SSS, and it works.

  • Brent

    This just in, all Cancer research that has been done in California is now no longer credible in Michigan…

    I know its very hard for irrational people to think rational but maybe we can shed some light on this. The fact that some on here, and I have seen them in other debates about this topic, most recently in the Detroit Freepress article comments about a cull in west Michigan whom which are not even from this state just simply amazes me.

    Fact is research has been done on lake Erie since the mid 70′s on these birds. Research has shown these birds damage the areas they inhabit, and that their population is just exploding.

    The simple thought that research done in another region is not credible to another region is absolutely absurd. Must make any advancement pretty much useless because of the different regions.

    It comes down to people having opinions, and have no knowledge to back them up. Its easy to go on emotion, another thing to go on facts.

    Although, I did laugh quite a bit at the person who commented about the DNR being for hunting and fishing, umm hello, where do you think their funding comes from? Surely not the birdwatchers who enjoy these parks and habitat from the backs and pocketbooks of the sportsmen and sportswomen out there, not to mention the groups like Delta waterfowl and DU.

    Anyway, carry on with your debate, I am going to see if I can grab a few permits and help the cause