Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Death of Trumpeter Swan Solved, But Pain Remains

trumpeter swan
trumpeter swan (photo from Michigan DNR)
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based on news stories in the Ludington Daily News

The trumpeter swan is the largest waterfowl in North America, and is easily distinguished from the European mute swan by its straight neck and black bill, with no yellow spot in front of the eye. In Michigan it is considered threatened. There are about 400 of the birds in Michigan, although most are in the Seney Wildlife Refuge of the U.P. This is considered a true success story, since in 1933 there were only 66 known trumpeter swans in the entire United States.

In April, southwest Michigan lost one beloved trumpeter swan. Near Custer, on a pond owned by Brad and Judy Goff, one trumpeter had been returning every year for the past 12 years. The swan was tagged, and was known to have been released in Hamlin Lake in 1994 and was 18 years old. The swan was not a pet in any sense of the word, but was so familiar to the Goff's that they had named him Swannie.

On the night of April 27th, the Goffs heard gunshots and feared the worst. In the morning the swan was indeed found dead. "We got such enjoyment out of him," said Goff. "It's small-minded, cruel. It wasn't an accident."

Michigan DNR Conservation officers made an arrest in the case on July 29. James Cameron, age 19, of Custer was taken into custody. The case was solved because many people cared a lot about Swannie. A great many tips came in, and finally a young man who was with Cameron at the time of the shooting came forward with the pertinent information.

It is hard to understand why some people just feel the need to shoot things simply because they have a gun and something is moving. Hunting for meat is one thing. The loss of this wonderful bird is not something that can simply be replaced like a pet. About 100 of the Michigan birds live in southwest Michigan.

See DNR information on the trumpeter swan
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

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Lin said...

That just breaks my heart. I don't understand killing for the sake of killing. Especially an animal. :(

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Thanks, Lin. This one was SO sad because so many people really felt a connection with this particular bird.

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