The C.A.S.H. Courier Newsletter
Winter 2012 Issue

Update on the Mute Swan Fight in Michigan

By Karen Stamper

CASH abolish sport hunting swans

The Michigan DNR is continuing its quest to kill all but 2000 mute swans on Michigan’s 11,000+ lakes. The only problem is they have no proof to back up their claims about how harmful the mute swans are to our ecosystem.  The lack of facts, however, does not matter to some lakefront residents. This past December, lakefront homeowners on Lincoln Lake, near Grand Rapids, Michigan,  signed a petition to have the USDA shoot the mute swans on the lake. They shot and killed 52 swans. They were put in garbage bags and thrown away.  Not too far away , the lakefront residents on Ryerson Lake petitioned to have 39 mute swans shot and killed  on their lake. According to some homeowners, they were not informed of any petition and claim that they were never asked to sign one and the whole process was done secretly, so as not to create opposition.

In Muskegon, Michigan, the officials on White Lake are planning a mute swan cull sometime in the upcoming weeks. These officials claim that there are 1100 mute swans on the 2571 acre lake. When we investigated a couple weeks ago, we counted less than 70 on the lake. Most of the lake was frozen and the swans we counted were mainly in the water near the road. The “sportsmen” claim the swans are destroying the shoreline. However, the only shoreline we saw being destroyed was where the condominium complex was being built. The marina was filled with expensive boats and yachts, and according to a local fisherman, the lake must always be dredged because the boats are destroying where the river and lake join together.

A small group of swan advocates met with the Michigan DNR recently.  The DNR was asked how they counted the 15,500 mute swans they claim we have in Michigan. They use one plane that travels across the entire state in one week with people using binoculars to count them. When asked about a formula to help calculate the number, they could not give one.

During this meeting, The DNR admitted that they do not have very good records of how many they have killed. How will they know when their 2000 goal is reached? A FOIA was recently requested on the mute swan count. We have requested many FOIAs in the past for goose and swan issues, and have never been charged. This particular FOIA brought in a hefty price of $1,269.65 made up mostly of administrative fees. What is the DNR hiding?
If you would like to join in our fight, not only for Michigan mute swans, but mute swans all over the country, please go to Change.org and search mute swan:

CASH abolish hunting swans

The Michigan DNR confirms this picture, taken by Hanny Melinn, contains dead mute swans culled from Lincoln Lake (Dec. 13, 2011)
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.

For more information and links, please like us on Swans Voice on Facebook.

CASH abolish sport hunting swans
Live swan photos by Karen Stamper

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