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VICTORY: Swan Family Spared, but Permanent Protection Plan Needed

VICTORY: Swan Family Spared, but Permanent Protection Plan Needed

Fantastic news! A family of swans has been spared from execution on Greenwood Lake, which is located along the border of New Jersey and New York.

After being tormented and separated from his babies by jet skiers and teens with paintball guns and air horns, a male swan tried to defend his young. The jet skiers then called the Greenwood Lake Commission to complain about the swan’s behavior and claimed the swan was "dangerous" for protecting his young. In response, the Greenwood Lake Commission called the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to “assess” the swan family. 

In a Jane UnChained interview with In Defense of Animals and The Regal Swan Foundation, swan expert Sheila Bolin warned that the USDA may kill the entire family since its policy is to replace mute swans with trumpeter swans for future trophy waterfowl hunting.

We’re so grateful to the thousands of In Defense of Animals supporters who took action on our alert to the Greenwood Lake Commissioners and U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer to demand protection for the harassed swans. 

The USDA conducted a brief assessment by riding a jet ski by one of the swans. The assessor said the swan was not aggressive and left. We are thrilled that the swan passed the USDA’s assessment and the family has been spared. We celebrate this great news, however, the swans must be protected against future conflicts. 

A swan protection plan ensures everyone remains safe with simple safety precautions that establish healthy boundaries between jet skiers and swans. On a 9-mile lake, there is plenty of room for people and other wild animals.

Swans understandably become defensive when motorists drive too close or too fast around their families. It’s normal behavior for adult swans to defend their babies when jet skiers circle around them or drive straight toward them. 

To prevent conflicts, the following steps should be taken to protect animals and human visitors at Greenwood Lake and at other lake communities:

  • Install “Do Not Harass Waterfowl” signs at marinas.
  • Enact fines for harassing waterfowl and notify local accommodation providers.
  • Enforce the no-wake zone.
  • Implement police, coast guard, and state police patrols at key harassment sites (Storm Island and South Shore).
  • Inform the community via media releases, Facebook alerts and the Greenwood Lake Commission Link (text messaging system).
  • Set up a community group to report waterfowl harassment.

If you have not already, please act now to call upon the Greenwood Lake Commission and U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer to work with the local community, politicians, and law enforcement to employ a peaceful and comprehensive protection plan to prevent conflicts in the future. 

Do you live on a lake with swans and other waterfowl? If so, please ask local decision-makers to start a waterfowl protection plan in your community.

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