After public protests, New York officials have backed off a plan to eradicate 2,200 wild swans that had been labeled pests.
The Department of Environmental Conservation drafted plans last year to wipe out the state's mute swan population on the grounds that the beautiful but aggressive birds are not native to the U.S. and are harming the habitat of domestic waterfowl.
That plan called for officials to destroy nests, puncture eggs, and shoot or gas swans living on public lands. Animal lovers responded with 16,000 protest letters.
On Friday, state officials said they were withdrawing the plan for revisions. The swans were introduced to the U.S. from Europe in the 19th Century. Wild populations have been growing on Long Island, in the Hudson Valley and around Lake Ontario near Rochester.