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Old 06-11-2009, 05:32 PM   #1
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Default An invasive species is an invasive species

An invasive species is an invasive species
Second Opinion on Mute Swans

Second Opinion: An invasive species is an invasive species - A virtual meeting of The Sun's editorial board, where issues are discussed, opinions made - baltimoresun.com
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Six years ago, a coalition of state and federal agencies launched an effort to eradicate nutria from Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge where the animals, a species native to South America, had destroyed thousands of acres of marshland. They appear to have succeeded and the effort is seen as a great victory for the environment.

Maryland officials have also been trying to remove another invader, mute swans that have destroyed submerged aquatic vegetation, habitat that is considered extremely valuable to many native Chesapeake Bay species. But instead of a triumph, the next and perhaps final step in this effort is seen as a "slaughter" of the remaining 500 or so of these "beautiful" animals by protesters.

What's the difference? The only significant one is human aesthetics. People love to look at swans with their white feathers and elegant long necks. Not so much with nutria, which might generously be described as a cross between a beaver and a rat.
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:33 PM   #2
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Default Maryland to Continue Killing Mute Swans

Maryland to Continue Killing Mute Swans
By Ashley Halsey III
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 8, 2009; 1:31 PM

washingtonpost.com
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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will continue to kill mute swans and destroy their eggs in an effort to keep the invasive species from devouring marsh grasses vital to the Chesapeake Bay.
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"While the swans may be beautiful, they continue to pose a serious threat to the Chesapeake Bay and its native wildlife, and non-lethal controls have proven insufficient for reducing the population," DNR Secretary John R. Griffin said in a statement.
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Two animal rights advocates on the 12-member task force issued their own report last month, arguing that "it is simply preposterous for Md. DNR to allege that a few hundred Mute Swans have any measurable negative impact on aquatic vegetation in the Bay."
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:34 PM   #3
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Default DNR boss: Keep killing mute swans

DNR boss: Keep killing mute swans
Says invasive birds causing major damage to bay's ecosystemMaryland's mute swans were handed a death sentence yesterday.
By PAMELA WOOD, Staff Writer
Published 06/09/09

DNR boss: Keep killing mute swans ē Top Stories (www.HometownAnnapolis.com - The Capital)
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They also will kill live swans by shooting them or using a device to break their necks. DNR officials said all of its methods are approved as humane, though animal-rights activists disagree.
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The state has targeted mute swans (Cygnus olor) because they are not native to Maryland and have a voracious appetite for underwater grasses. They can eat 8 pounds of grasses a day, which can hurt other waterfowl that feed on the grasses, as well as crabs and other aquatic critters that live in them.
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Maryland's population of mute swans can be traced to five birds that escaped captivity in Talbot County in 1962. The population grew to 4,000, but has been thinned to 500 in recent years.
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:37 PM   #4
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They're beautiful...but they've gotta go.

They should do the same with mustangs out west, IMO.
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:47 PM   #5
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...and the ponies of Chincoteague and Assateague:

Assateague Island National Seashore - Assateague's Wild Horses (U.S. National Park Service)
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:03 PM   #6
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It's practically heresy around here to say this, but I agree with swamp thing. The recent death of one of Misty's grandchildren (great-grandchildren?) actually made the front page of the local newspaper.

The ponies generate considerable tourist dollars, and so are not likely to go anywhere any time soon. Aside from the annual pony round up (proceeds from the pony auction help support the Chincoteague VFD), the herds must be thinned periodically to keep the ponies from completely overwhelming the island habitat (not publicized to the same extent as the round up, to be sure). Those ponies represent a very complicated eco-social equation.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:31 PM   #7
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Global Citizen - Promoting a Cleaner and Greener planet!

It seems extreme to me for the BLM to be engaged in the extermination of mustangs.
Certainly there are other options.
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:34 PM   #8
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The Mute Swans and the Wild Mustangs gotta both go. There are adoption programs for the horses. The big problem is that people whip people up with misinformation. Take this article for example, The Bush administration vs. the wild horses. - By Deanne Stillman - Slate Magazine. Ms. Stilman claims, "Wild horses were indigenous to North America, populating this continent before the Ice Age." regarding her beloved horse, the Ice Age wiped out that early ancestor of today's horse. It was no bigger than a small dog. Yes, that early ancestor of today's horse was adapted to the pre Ice Age climate but that climate ceased to exist as did that species of horse. Those early horses were a part of an ecosystem long gone. Given the Ice Age started about 70,000 years ago, I think it would be safe to say those horses were extinct on this continent although to read her article would lead most to believe otherwise. Thousands of years went by in which no species of horse was present to co-evolve and therefore their recent introduction has resulted in unforeseen consequences. Every free-ranging horse in the United States is a descendant of an escaped or abandoned horse. This argument is no longer about facts of ecology associated with the preservation and perpetuation of wildlife but more about human emotions and alliances. Cats and horses are so deeply entrenched in our culture that some people will always be unwilling to discern fact from fiction. I donít see anyone running to the defense of the Nutria or the wild boar and sure as rain, no one came to the defense of the Cane toad but mention a cat a swan or a horse associated with the same destructive characteristics and well then we have a small percentage of people who are up in emotional arms. It saddens me that some people have little or no concern for the well being of wildlife or the fragile ecosystems they depend upon for survival.
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:43 PM   #9
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Missed the comments about the BLM. The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act has a stipulation dictating feral horses may be removed from public lands if it is proven they are overpopulating or causing habitat destruction. They're the Mute Swan of the Wild West... and of Assateague Island. How much more research do we need evidencing they are destroying our lands to destroy more of them? I personally believe they have no place on public lands supported by my tax dollar. I own three... they're on private property.
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Old 06-13-2009, 12:01 PM   #10
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There is an ongoing adoption program for the feral horses.
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animal rights advocates, cygnus olor, exotics, invasive, invasive fauna, invasive species, invasives, mute swan, national wildlife refuge, species

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