According to this report from the Bay Journal, natural resource officials in Maryland have begun the process of shooting 1500 mute swans (Cygnus olor), in an effort to protect grassbeds and native species in the Chesapeake Bay. When they're done, swan populations in that state will be reduced by about 50%. The number of mute swans in Maryland has continued to rise, even though there has been an egg addling program in that state for years. In response to the killings, the international animal rights group "Friends of Animals" is offering up to $1000 to anyone who can catch the shootings on video tape, as reported in the Washington Post. The group hopes to stop the population reduction program by broadcasting the tape to the world.
(Note 5/25/03: Animal rights supporters have now filed a lawsuit in federal court to protest the swan killings, read more in this story from the Environment News Service. - Thanks to a member of the ALIENS-L listserver for posting the link)
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