Mute swans get a temporary reprieve while state DEC revises plan

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be revising its management plan for the region’s mute swans, which previously consisted of “eliminating” them entirely, except for some which would be allowed to be raised privately in captivity.

The revised plan will be released this spring for a second round of public comment. Recognizing the massive public outcry and rejection of extermination, the DEC said in a statement that it would “consider non-lethal means to achieve the management plan’s intended goals” of preventing and minimizing destruction of wildlife, water quality and aviation hazards.

“We appreciate the strong response that the draft plan received, and it’s clear that New Yorkers recognize the importance of a comprehensive mute swan management plan that balances the interests of a diversity of stakeholders,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “The revised plan will seek to balance the conflicting views about management of mute swans in New York.”

Over 1,500 comments, 16,000 letters and 30,000 petition signatures were sent to the DEC during its initial comment period.

“This is hopeful news,” added Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz of Sheepshead Bay, where mute swans have been a familiar and often fond fixture in Brooklyn’s waterfront community for decades. “Sheepshead Bay wouldn’t be the same without the mute swans,” he said. “They’re synonymous with grace and beauty. Yes, they may hiss sometimes, but this is New York, so they’re entitled.”

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