Friends of Animals (FoA) has begun negotiations for the relocation of Whooper Swans who have been targeted to be shot at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge of Plum Island, Massachusetts. FoA has also requested for a moratorium on the killing of 12 to 18 Mute Swans on the Refuge so that similar relocation efforts can be carried out on their behalf.
On May 5th, the state issued a permit to allow the "any means to euthanize any Mute Swan or Whooper Swan found to be breeding or attempting to breed on refuge lands and their progeny to insure the biological integrity of the refuge." At least two Mute Swans have been killed since the permit went into effect.
According to FoA President Priscilla Feral, "We have located a sanctuary in Virginia to take the Whooper Swans and they are now negotiating directly with the Refuge. We are calling for a cease-fire and the opportunity to work with the Refuge and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to find a new location for the Mute Swans in Massachusetts, or to obtain a permit to relocate them to an out of state location such as Five Mile River in Rowayton, Connecticut."
FoA Representative Bill Dollinger states, "Refuge Manager Janet Kennedy is considering our request to save the Mute Swans, and she has promised to evaluate the feasibility of relocation. We are encouraged by her interest in our plan but disappointed that she was unwilling to issue a cease-fire at this time. If they are unwilling to tolerate 12 to 18 Mute Swans who may seek to nest in the 4660 acres of the Refuge, the very least they can do is to put down their shotguns and allow us the opportunity to save these beautiful birds."
The swan-killing scheme is the result of a misinformation campaign carried out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The federal agency claims that an explosion of the Mute Swan population has occurred in the Chesapeake Bay and are issuing unwarranted predictions of Mute Swan population booms in Massachusetts. Swan populations in New England have always been stable, with natural fluctuations according to weather conditions such as floods and cold temperatures.
Friends of Animals is an international animal advocacy organization with more than 200,000 members and supporters, including 5000 Massachusetts residents, headquartered in Darien, Connecticut.