Save the mute swans


Two state lawmakers are saying ‘live and let live’ when it comes to New York’s mute swan population.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz of Brooklyn and Senator Tony Avella of Queens are once again fighting for the lives of the mute swans across New York and have reintroduced a bill to prevent the mass extermination of the species.

The goal of bill A.9289/S.6630 is to place a moratorium on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s plan to declare the mute swans a “prohibited invasive species” and eradicate the birds entirely by 2025.

Concern for the mute swans escalated two years ago when the DEC originally announced it would kill the birds due to the damage they cause to plant life and other species. While many agree the swans can be a nuisance, environmentalists and scientists disagree whether their impact on the environment is detrimental enough to call for the complete extermination of the species, say the bill sponsors and supporters.

These extreme measures to get rid of the swans have drawn the attention of, not only lawmakers, but animal rights activists groups as well. Groups such as GooseWatch NYC, Save Our Swans and the Regal Swan Foundation have shown their opposition to the DEC’s extermination plan with a plethora of phone calls and letters to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

Cuomo has vetoed the moratorium bill twice in the past.

“There is no hard and clear evidence that mute swans are the kind of dangerous and damaging presence that DEC suggests,” said Cymbrowitz, adding that the bird is a favorite with his constituents who like to watch them in the bay off Emmons Avenue. “As far as my constituents are concerned, they’re beautiful birds and the official policy should be ‘live and let live.’”