Maryland's top natural resources official has decided to push ahead with the state's effort to kill or otherwise reduce the population of mute swans around the Chesapeake Bay - a decision likely to inflame animal lovers but supported by a wide range of conservationists and birding groups.
Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin accepted the recommendation of a DNR task force to continue reducing the number of non-native birds in the state. The population, which numbered 4,000 a decade ago, has been reduced to fewer than 500 by "addling" the birds' eggs so they will not hatch and by killing some.
Despite the swans' stately appearance, scientists contend the birds drive away native shorebirds and threaten the bay's health by consuming significant quantities of the underwater grasses that provide shelter and nursery for crabs and fish. Animal-rights groups and animal lovers oppose the eradication effort.
Read the story here.
Read the task force majority and minority reports here.
(2004 Sun photo by Lloyd Fox)