Char-Koosta News

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Trumpeter swan found dead

Captured swans await being released in new home in 2010. A dead trumpeter swan was found recently, killed with a high powered rifle. Trumpeter swans are protected and shooting them is illegal. (file photo) Captured swans await being released in new home in 2010. A dead trumpeter swan was found recently, killed with a high powered rifle. Trumpeter swans are protected and shooting them is illegal. (file photo)

BUFFALO BRIDGE — Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal officials are investigating the discovery and recovery of a dead Trumpeter Swan. Tribal Game Wardens received a call on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 that a dead Trumpeter Swan had been discovered near Buffalo Bridge on the Lower Flathead River.

An examination of the Trumpeter Swan showed that it had been shot by a high-powered rifle. The dead swan’s mate remained in the vicinity after the shooting.

Tribal Wildlife Program manager Dale Becker says, “Trumpeter Swans were reintroduced to the area beginning in 1996 and the reintroduction program has been highly successful”. According to Becker, the swans on the Reservation have been released at several sites on National Wildlife Refuge System lands and private properties that provided the proper degree of seclusion, stable water levels, adequate aquatic vegetation for food, and limited hazards.

While the reintroduction has met with good success, the importance of maintaining that success rests upon continued protection and recruitment of swans into the local population. Becker noted that this particular bird was three year old and was old enough to pair and reproduce. He said, “This bird was about to reach its reproductive start and help to increase the population. It’s too bad that shooters can’t be responsible enough to use paper targets instead of protected wildlife. Situations like this one shine an unfavorable light on all hunters and shooters because of negative public preceptions.”

Each of the swans has been fitted with a red neckband with a white alphanumeric code, such as 0T1 and a red leg band with an alphanumeric code such as 0T1 to assist with tracking the migration movements of the birds.

Hunting or shooting Trumpeter Swans is illegal and violators will be cited.

Tribal officials ask the public to report any information they may have regarding this incident. An investigation is currently underway. If you have information regarding this shooting contact Mike McElderry, Fish & Game Investigator at Tribal Dispatch at 675-4700.

To learn more about the Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction Program, contact Dale Becker, Tribal Wildlife Management Program at 675-2700 ext. 7278 or by email at daleb@cskt.org.

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