ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York wildlife officials want to step up efforts to eliminate wild populations of non-native mute swans.
The Department of Environmental Conservation estimates the state's mute swan population at 2,200, mainly on Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley and along Lake Ontario.
Native to Eurasia, the elegant birds were imported to New York in the late 1800s and have established wild populations. The Atlantic Flyway Council, made up of state wildlife agencies, adopted a plan in 2003 to reduce the population, saying aggressive swans displace native waterfowl.
Culling programs in Michigan and Maryland have drawn criticism from humane organizations.
The DEC is taking comments until Feb 21 on a plan (http://bit.ly/1kNxjmR ) that calls for eliminating wild populations by 2025 through various means including shooting swans, destroying eggs, and taking birds into captivity under permit.
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