“Prince, How Did We Fail You?”
Well, I would like to say that the Senate Committee killed bill #6625 because of my comment about Larry David and the lone Ninja swan attack.
But, that would be far too simple an explanation.
There were much larger entities at work, namely the Audubon Society and the Trumpeter Swan Society. I appreciate both of these organizations and their plight very much. They work on behalf of wildlife that would otherwise have no voice and that in itself is an extremely commendable and worthwhile cause.
But, when it comes to animal advocacy, you’ll find that us animal advocates have our favorites and we advocate on behalf of our favorites. Rightly so, Audubon and Trumpeter Swan Society both want to re-establish habitat for trumpeter swans in Washington State. This is, after all, the Trumpeter Swan’s original habitat and this type of swan was here long before the mute swan was here. In fact, I am on their side on this particular point, and I support their cause wholeheartedly to re-establish Trumpeter Swans in Washington State.
Incidentally, where we don’t see eye-to-eye is in the case of the mute swan. I assert that mute swans and trumpeter swans can both have a place in Washington State, and that one type of swan doesn’t exclude the other, with the caveat that none of the mute swans are breeding pairs.
Opponents of the mute swan claim that these swans will take precious trumpeter swan habitat, and that may be so. Both swans, after all, will have to compete simply because of habitat shortages due to human development. Many large builders and construction companies have drained local wetlands, paved over them, and built shopping complexes and large, boxy housing developments.
In other words, they have “paved paradise and put up a parking lot”.
Since a habitat shortage has been created, there’s “not room enough in this town” for both the mute swan and the trumpeter swan. It’s true they both compete for the same wetland habitats. And since the trumpeter swan is a native species, I am all for having it take precedence over the mute swan.
However, and this is a big however, what we at Sylvia Lake were asking was simply to replace one mute swan for our particular lake. In other words, we wanted a total of two mute swans, at any point in time, with their wings clipped. We were also stipulating that we would ensure the swans are sterile, so two and only two would live at the lake at any point in time.
Both Audubon and the Trumpeter Swan Society testified against us before the Senate Committee and I don’t understand why. They knew well that we were not asking to re-legalize all mute swans for Washington State. And we were ensuring that our swans would not effect Trumpeter Swan habitat in any way, or compete with these beautiful, native swans.
Unfortunately, this seems to be the nature of politics and also the nature of large organizations who have time, resources, and people to lobby for their cause. We at Sylvia Lake are just a few home-owners and we are a very small grass-roots movement. Heck, we didn’t even intend to be a grass-roots movement– it all started simply because we wanted to be law abiding citizens, but also ensure that our swan could have another friend, and acquire that friend legally.
It’s agonizing to watch Prince glide along the lake, day after day, without a companion at his side. Most of the time, he appears to be bored, gliding from reed patch to reed patch, as if looking for something that he knows he’ll never find. Still, he never gives up searching.
The high points of Prince’s day are 8am, when Glenda comes to feed him, and 5pm, when I come to feed him. He’s always happy to see both of us. He purrs, he does wing dances, and head bows, especially when we sing to him.
He’s always over-joyed to see us, just like a puppy dog who greets his owner at the door after a long, solitary day spent in the house. Prince even wags his tail as enthusiastically as my own Cocker Spaniel, Sammy. My husband and I used to refer to that wag as “cocker butt”. Now that we have met Prince, we call it “swan butt”, because Prince even beats Sammy in the enthusiasm department!
I don’t know what the future holds for Prince. All I know is, we’re in a holding pattern for another year before we can bring this before the Senate again.
And Prince is 25 years old– in swan years, that’s over 100. Still, he’s in great health and he’s very well-loved by all of us at Sylvia Lake. Heck, the sign at the entrance of our neighborhood has his image carved in wood. That’s how much we all love him!
Glenda and I will still care for him daily, no matter what. But, I will continue to keep all of you dear readers updated from time to time with Prince stories. I will also be making a small video about me and Prince soon so everyone can see how he woos and coos and dances with sheer delight. So, be on the look-out for that…
(Stay tuned for part 16)
– Sarah Polyakov