Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 20 October 2016
Despite the widespread misrepresentation of Mute Swans and the greatest hoax ever perpetuated on the U.S. taxpayer by federal and state wildlife officials, Mute Swans DO NOT have any detrimental effects on the environment.
This misrepresentation began and continues today so that the U.S. taxpayer (and yes, taxpayers are funding this non-sustainable, not scientific based program) will buy into the ploy and allow wildlife officials to kill/control Mute Swans.
The reasoning is that wildlife officials want to open habitats by removing the Mute Swans and introduce the larger Trumpeter Swans for Trophy Waterfowl hunting purposes. Trophy Waterfowl hunting permits are much more expensive and will be used to enhance/maintain state and wildlife programs that are being depleted due to lack of funding. Unfortunately, this is not conservation, but a means to use wildlife as a commodity to enhance hunting and its revenue.
FACT: There has never been any environmental impact assessment regarding Mute Swans in the U.S.
FACT: There has never been a systemic collaborative count of Mute Swans in the U.S.
FACT: Scientists are now looking at fossil evidence that suggests that Mute Swans are native to the U.S.
FACT: Scientists through actual reliable valid research have shown that Mute Swans are beneficial to the environment in that they act as a Sentinel/indicator species alerting scientists to problems in the habitat due to the presence of heavy metals such as copper, lead, mercury and harmful microorganisms.
FACT: Mute Swans do affect sub-aquatic vegetation, but DO NOT deplete sub-aquatic vegetation or macrophytes. Mute Swans eat approximately 8 lbs of sub-aquatic vegetation daily, but actually improve biodiversity by reaching and bringing to the surface vegetation that dabbling ducks and other non-diving waterfowl species can eat, but cannot reach. This also helps the biodiversity of the macrophytes.
Conversely, Trumpeter Swan cygnets alone eat twice the amount of sub-aquatic vegetation.
FACT: Mute Swans are no more defensive/aggressive than any other waterfowl species protecting their offspring or habitat.
All of the above facts were stated by international swan and wetland habitat specialists at the 2014 International Swan Symposium (through reliable valid scientific research) thus disputing U.S. wildlife officials. Furthermore, U.S. federal and state wildlife officials admitted that the killing of Mute Swans had no scientific basis, was paid for by taxpayers and was a non-sustainable program.
FACT: Had the Michigan DNR not been so adamant about killing all Mute Swans in the state, the swans may have warned scientists to the problems in the Flint River regarding heavy metals and harmful microorganisms. This early warning system (Mute Swans) may have prevented some of the poisonings and even deaths had they been allowed to live freely in the environment.
Once an early warning system (Sentinel/indicator species) is killed and eradicated from an area, there is no early intervention and the effect on the environment can be catastrophic.
So, in answer to your question, we would NOT suggest any control/killing/eradication of the Mute Swans due to their beneficial attributes to the environment. The Regal Swan