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Queens Lawmaker Calls DEC’s Mute Swan Eradication Plan ‘Incomprehensible’

State Sen. Avella Seeks 2-Year Moratorium On Proposal
A Mute Swan (file/credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A Mute Swan (file/credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A state senator from Queens is trying to stop the slaughter of mute swans proposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

A bill introduced last week by Sen. Tony Avella would put a two-year moratorium on the DEC’s plan to eradicate all 2,200 wild mute swans in the state by 2025.

The DEC is seeking to have the birds declared a “prohibited invasive species.” Agency biologists say the elegant white birds have multiplied to the point that they’ve become a pest that pollutes water, displaces native birds, poses a hazard to aviation and shows aggression toward people.

But Avella said he doesn’t see how the birds pose a problem.

“It seems to be a very capricious and arbitrary decision,” he told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman. “To eradicate an entire species here in New York State is just incomprehensible.”

The birds are most numerous on Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley and along Lake Ontario.

They were imported from Europe in the late 1800s to decorate private estates.

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