The C.A.S.H. Courier Newsletter
Selected Articles from our
Spring 2011 Issue
A Discordant Swansong For Mute Swans
Composed and Conducted by the Michigan State DNR
By Karen Stamper
one of my struggles is to save the mute swans. The Michigan DNR is proposing
a mute swan management plan that will eradicate nearly the entire population
of mute swans in Michigan.
The Michigan DNR claims the swans are non-native; this has never been
established. There is evidence showing that they are native: there are
drawings and archeological findings which indicate that they are native. Any
claim that mute swans are not native to the region is, at best, an unproven
The Michigan DNR claims that there are now 15,000 mute swans in Michigan,
according to their spring count. This seems incongruous since these swans
have been in Michigan for almost 200 years and in the year 2000 the total
population was only 5,400. How can the population increase to 15,000 by 2010
notwithstanding construction, boats and jet skis on the lakes, turtles and
raccoons that prey on cygnets, and the permitted kill of swans.
The DNR is claiming that the swans are a non-native, invasive species and
they are destroying the submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). They have no
factual Michigan based studies to prove this. They are speculating based on
other statesí studies and one of the main states is Maryland. The major
difference between Maryland and Michigan is that Maryland has NO natural
lakes. There are, according to the DNR website, 26,857 inland lakes in
Michigan. This does not include the rivers, streams, marshes, private lakes
and ponds, lakes under an acre, or retention ponds. We have asked for the
Michigan studies that have allegedly been done by the DNR, or any hunting
group, and have yet to receive any.
Russ Mason, head of the wildlife division, was asked at the last Natural
Resources Commission (NRC) meeting about the studies, and he admittedly said
that all states join together and help each other out with studies. You
canít compare Michigan to Maryland. I grew up in Maryland. The Bay was never
that clean when I was going there for camp. There are way too many
restaurants serving Maryland crabs. The so called fishermen are taking the
crabs way too early. Itís the pollution, the fishermen, the industrial
runoff, and the large freighters that are affecting the Bay. Itís not the
swans. The swans are the scapegoats because they can control them.
Finally, the DNR claims that the mutes are invasive to the loons, the
ďnativeĒ trumpeter swan, and the Canada geese.
According to the DNR website, itís humans and pollution that cause the
demise of the loons. They never once mention the mute swans.
Just a little side Note: Joe Johnson from the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary was
given an award by the DNR for introducing the Canada Goose to Michigan. He
has now begun bringing eggs from the trumpeter swans in Alaska to Michigan.
They place these eggs under the mute swans and have the mutes hatch them. If
the trumpeter population becomes as great as they say the Canada goose
population is, look out, the hunters will be in their glory.
of the groups attending the Mute Swan forum last August were from
organizations that had a vested interest in hunting. It also included the
Audubon Society, which works closely with federal and state game agencies.
In the minutes of the forum meeting, it says that the swans will be killed
and dumped in landfills.
The most recent blow to the mutes came on February 10, 2011, The Natural
Resources Commission (NRC) voted not to allow the rehabilitators to take in
any mute swans. Even though they only take in about 40 swans total in a
year, they still voted ďnoĒ to let them continue to take care of them. Now
when a swan has a fish hook in his beak, or fishing line wrapped around his
legs, or has been hit by a jet ski or car, or has been shot, they must be
left on the lake or someoneís yard to die. People get prosecuted for animal
cruelty in this country, and government agencies should likewise be
challenged on their institutionalized animal cruelty. No animal, native or
non-native should ever be treated this way.
People should know that the Department of Natural Resources in Michigan,
as well as in other states, and the US Fish and Wildlife Services are
deceiving the public. They promote hunting, whether to make way for eventual
trumpeter swan hunting or just to allow the goose population to continue to
rise so they can have longer hunting seasons on them. It is wrong, the facts
are not admitted, and it is endangering individual mutes, trumpeters, the
geese, and I am sure the ducks as well. We must take a stand and defend our
wildlife. We need to be their VOICE!
We have a petition site,
please help us by signing it and if you know anyone in Michigan please
forward the link to them.
Please take note of what is happening to the mute swans and the Canada
geese in your state. If enough of us call and write our state reps and
senators, maybe we can get the DNR to stop all the killing. We as tax payers
should not have to pay for killing these innocent birds. The hunting groups
should not be running our Department of Natural Resources. We need to take
Karen Stamper is a photographer and activist. While out in the field, she
became aware of injured animals, especially waterfowl, which led her to do
animal rescue. In recent years, she has seen first hand how Canada geese and
mute swans are treated in Michigan, and throughout the United States. She
said, It is my mission now to fight for these birds and give them a voice.
Cruelty to any animal should never be accepted in our society, whether it be
abuse to an animal by an individual or by our government .
In the next issue of the C.A.S.H. Courier we will publish Ms. Stamperís
personal relationship with Brute, Baby Girl and their two babies, a Canada
goose family that was rounded up by the DNR in 2008..
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