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Environment & Climate Change

DNR turns down request for moratorium on mute swan killings

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Photo by Mary Hollinger, NESDIS/NODC biologist, NOAA
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A pair of mute swans.

Mute swans are flourishing in Michigan. The state’s Department of Natural Resources estimates their population almost tripled from 5,700 to more than 15,000 between 2000 and 2010.  We've previously reported the DNR says mute swans eat a huge amount of vegetation in lakes. They can push out native birds, such as the trumpeter swan, and officials say mute swans can snap and charge at people.

To keep the population under control, the DNR is killing the birds and destroying their nests.

The Humane Society of the United States and the Michigan Save Our Swans Committee argue the DNR’s methods are inhumane.

John Grandy is with the Humane Society of the United States.

"These are lovely, beautiful creatures that citizens really enjoy having in their lives, and we think they deserve humane, responsible care."

Grandy and his colleagues want to work with the DNR to find non-lethal methods of population control. They initially asked for a moratorium on the killings until the DNR adopted new techniques, but the department said it will continue its efforts.

The DNR hopes to reduce the population to 2,000 birds by 2030.

-Suzanne Jacobs, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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