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    Mute swan, hybrid offspring removed because of threats to wildlife

    10:12 PM, Jun 19, 2013   |    comments
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    Photo Gallery: Mute swan, hybrid offspring removed because of threats to wildlife

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Four baby swans are set to be put down, and their father could too if his owner doesn't come forward soon.

    This news is not settling well with neighbors who adore these swans. But, Arkansas Game and Fish said they're a threat to other wild-life and even humans.

    Larry and Sandra Fite said that they've heard the swans call all day on Wednesday. The couple believes the sound, coming from a female Trumpeter Swan, shows that she misses her family.

    "It was real sad, I mean I had gotten so attached to them," Sandra Fite said.

    "I thought it was a bass tournament. There were so many boats," Larry Fire said.

    Boats from Arkansas Game Fish captured the four baby swans (cygnets), and the father on Wednesday morning along Harris Break Lake just a few miles south of Perryville.  

    "They are just real soothing, relaxing to watch, they are beautiful birds," Larry Fite said.

    But, Game and Fish said the father is what's known as a Mute Swan, which is not native to Arkansas. By cross-breeding with the mother Trumpeter Swan, the four swans taken are a threat to the area.

    "They can be very aggressive to both people and other wildlife species. They eat a great deal of plant life in the lake and just kind of disrupt the native wildlife and fish," said Keith Stephens with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

    Spokesman Keith Stephens said that they plan to put down the four baby swans. The father, who Stephens believes is a pet, could die later on.

    "We're going to keep the adult for five days to see if the owner can show legal representation about legal ownership," Keith Stephens said.

    The Fites' just don't get it.

    "He was just gentle. When I was working in the yard in the flowers, he would come up beside me," Sandra Fite said.

    "Why would they take something that small and kill it," Larry Fite asked.

    It's tough to let go for them and this Mama Swan.    

    Game and Fish said they don't deny that these Mute Swans are beautiful, but the agency just can't tolerate the impact they can have on the area.

    Game and Fish added that Mute Swans can expand rapidly. They also said the father swan in this case was one that could not fly and was illegally released into wild.

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