Local members of the Trumpeter Swan Restoration Program along with state wildlife officials were stunned this past week when they learned that the male (cob) swan of the only Sac County resident pair in the program was shot down in a field just southeast of Wall Lake. The incident happened the final week of November just prior to the present cold weather snap that has driven the remaining members of the family unit south for the winter. It is assumed that the other birds, in all probability, migrated to the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma area where they have spent the past two winters.
This particular male swan has fostered two nests of cygnets near Early the past two summers, amounting to a total production of 12 new cygnets set free in an effort to repopulate the stately birds.
It is sad to think that this trumpeter swan family, the first of their species to reside in the county since the American Civil War era, was apparently decimated by the intentional action of an unscrupulous hunter. This kind of destruction of such a magnificent creature is not easily understood or tolerated by the public at large.
As such, harsh punishment has been legislated into our Iowa Laws prohibiting individuals from engaging in this type of activity. In April 1999, due to the action of a caring 4th grade class from Roland-Story Elementary, Governor Vilsack signed a wildlife bill into law pushing the liquidated damages for killing or possessing protected trumpeter swans or cranes to a fine of $1500 and or incarceration of up to 30 days in a county holding facility.
The incident above remains under investigation. A $1,000 cash reward has been assured to the individual that can supply local authorities with the information required to bring the individual or individuals responsible for this heinous crime to prosecution. Any information you have may be helpful. The public is asked to telephone Iowa Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer, Mr. Dan Mork at 712-260-1016. Mr. Mork assures me that he will do everything in his power to bring this incident to a justifiable close.
Be a good citizen, do your part and report wildlife infractions against the people of our county.