NBC 4 New York
The NY State Department of Environmental Conservation considers the swans an invasive species and a threat to the environment and even aviation. Lori Bordonaro reports.
The state's plan to kill or capture all mute swans by 2025 has sparked an outcry from the bird lovers on Long Island.
"I have never been chased in 25 years, or attacked by a swan," said Marlene Feuerring of Water Mill. "Why would we want to kill wildlife?"
Feuerring is devastated by the Department of Conservation's plans, which cite aggressive behavior by the swans and claim that the state's 2,200 swans destroy water plants, put planes at risk and pollute the water.
Swans have lived in the bay outside her home for decades, she says.
"Swan feces contain high levels of coliform bacteria so the presence of large flocks could impact waters used for drinking, swimming and shellfishing," the DEC report states.
Wendy Chamberlain of the Wildlife Preservation Coalition said in response to the report, "A couple of swans in a pond is nothing compared to this pond that is surrounded by septic tanks."
Wildlife advocates say the swans have been living there since the 1800s, but the DEC said the plan is necessary to protect native species.
"The plan for mute swans is more balanced and comprehensive than many critics have suggested and we encourage everyone to read the plan, as well as a report on mute swans in New York before rejecting it outright," it said.
The DEC is accepting public comments until Feb. 21. In the meantime, opponents have started online petitions, hoping the state will reconsider.
"I think they are magnificent. I love them," said Feuerring. "They would all be heartbroken if these swans were shot."