Advertisement

Official debate City Park swan issue

November 23, 2001

Official debate City Park swan issue



By DAN KULIN / dank@herald-mail.com

The state official who said he would decide whether the City of Hagerstown can have mute swans for City Park would not say on Wednesday how he would respond to a city request for those swans.

Paul Peditto, director of the Wildlife and Heritage Service, which is a division of the state Department of Natural Resources, said he hopes the city will choose tundra swans for the park.

Peditto said he wants DNR representatives to meet with the Mayor and City Council so they can make a more informed decision.

Advertisement

The straight-necked tundra swans are native to North America and typically migrate through Maryland, whereas the curved-neck mute swans are an "invasive" species, Peditto said.

A feral population of about 4,000 mute swans has caused problems for people and wildlife on Maryland's Eastern Shore, he said.

The mayor and council want to buy four mute swans for the park, which has been without swans since the last one there died July 23. Since then people have sent more than $4,500 to City Hall to help pay for new swans.

Last week, the Mayor and City Council discussed whether to buy mute or tundra swans for the park, and there was a strong consensus that they wanted mute swans.

"I think the City Council was pretty firm on what we'd like to have," Mayor William M. Breichner said.

"I think the citizens of Hagerstown deserve to have mute swans on City Park Lake. It's what we've had for years," Breichner said.

To get mute swans, Peditto said he would have to sign off on a permit for the city.

Peditto wouldn't say whether he would turn down a city request for mute swans. But he said allowing Hagerstown to have mute swans would send a bad message to the public, help establish a market for mute swans, and encourage others to try to acquire the birds.

Peditto said mute swans are more aggressive than tundra swans. He also said that when mute swans eat they pull the vegetation from the ground instead of grazing on it.

Swans purchased for the park would have certain feathers removed so they will be unable to fly.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|