2010-05-08 / News

Sam is safe… for now

‘Sam’ is free to glide up and down Fairfield Beach area channels or anywhere on Buckeye Lake without fear of capture. Beacon photo by Charles Prince. ‘Sam’ is free to glide up and down Fairfield Beach area channels or anywhere on Buckeye Lake without fear of capture. Beacon photo by Charles Prince. FAIRFIELD BEACH – “Sam” the swan is safe as long as he draws no more complaints about being aggressive toward anyone, said Ohio Division of Wildlife, Wildlife Management Supervisor Gary Ludwig Monday.

Fairfield Beach residents were infuriated when the Ohio Division of Wildlife issued a destruction permit for a pair of mute swans- – whom residents named Sam and Samantha – when the swans built a nest on Island Avnue. property residents Christine Heimrich and Jeffrey Gerling own.

Heimrich told the ODNR that the swans nested close to their home’s front door and became aggressive toward her if she passed too closely to the nest. They were also fouling her property.

Ludwig issued a destruction permit on April 23. The female swan and her eggs were captured and destroyed, but the male escaped and remained at large until the destruction permit expired May 1. The permit was only valid when the swans were on Heimrich’s property. Ludwig said Monday that there is currently no basis for renewing a permit at that location.

“So, no, we are not considering the permit for renewal,” he said. “If the remaining mute swan returns to (Heimrich’s) property and becomes a nuisance, that’s when we would consider renewing the permit for capture and removal. Since there is no mate to return to, there is no reason to believe that this swan will be a problem at this location again in 2010.”

Ludwig said the Division of Wildlife has no specific plan for “Sam” the swan whatsoever, other than to leave him be. “We basically accomplished our mute swan control for Buckeye Lake as both the basis for the aggressive attacks and the potential for reproduction has been eliminated in 2010,” he said. Ludwig said it’s possible the swan could become a nuisance on other state park or private land around the lake. “If the park manager requests our assistance with removing the mute swan for public safety reasons, we will assist them,” he said.

For example, if the swan attacks boaters or swimmers at the beaches, the Ohio Division of Wildlife will help eliminate the problem. If the swan attacks another private landowner and denies the landowner use of his or her property, “we would investigate the complaint and then issue a control permit, if warranted, as we did for (Heimrich),” said Ludwig. “I doubt that we will hear much more from the remaining swan in 2010.”

Ludwig said in a previous statement, “Mute swans are not protected by any federal law (as are migratory bids like Trumpeter swans, Canada geese and Mallard ducks). Mute swans are however considered a migratory bird under Ohio Administrative Code, so we regulate take according to OAC. Whenever they become a problem for private landowners, we can issue them special letter permits to control, remove and/or euthanize them, just as we might for any other native animal that becomes a nuisance.”

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