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No swan song along Chaussee

Andy Ouriel • May 16, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Could   this be the swan song for swans swimming around Sandusky Bay?

This past week, several worried residents contacted the Register about a sudden disappearance of swans floating by and roaming around the Cedar Point Chaussee. Some even claimed people killed the swans.

“A Cedar Point resident observed federal wildlife officers shooting the swans from their vehicle parked along the roadway,” Sandusky resident Ronald Kaufman said. “As a conservationist, who enjoys hunting, I’m appalled at this act of our federal government. They could only have accomplished this dastardly feat with a rifle, which not only is dangerous but unlawful to hunt waterfowl within Ohio”

And that could be true in this case.

The Register relayed these concerns to Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife representatives.

A division spokesman didn’t confirm whether federal officials are shooting local mute swans in Sandusky Bay — but he did verify that wildlife officers sometimes shoot swans in certain spots to protect a local environment.

“In other areas, where mute swan populations are negatively impacting habitats and need (to be) reduced, lethal methods are used to reduce mute swan numbers, which usually is done with firearms,” division spokesman John Windau said.

Windau compared mute swans to Asian carp, both of which are exotic, invasive species capable of destroying ecosystems. Mute swans, like Asian carp, are unprotected from Ohio or federal wildlife preservation laws.

“Mute swans are an exotic invasive species that threaten native wildlife,” Windau said. “In terms of public satisfaction, wildlife management is not different than the news business: There is no way to make 100 percent of the people happy 100 percent of the time”

At least one person seemed disturbed by this possible development occurring in Erie County.

“I can’t believe the state would do anything that would create a hazard,” said Mona Rutger, Back to the Wild’s founder. Back to the Wild is a nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation center helping return injured or sick animals into their natural habitats.

Rutger alluded to all sorts of dangers occurring if dead birds are in Sandusky Bay.

“There could be disease transmission,” Rutger said. “There could be an overabundance of carcasses rotting the environment. There could be other health problems with bacteria”

The Register plans to delve deeper into this issue after contacting federal officials.

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