Letter to the Editor

Trumpeter swan story

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Feb. 24 Daily Reporter carried an AP story about the restoration of the trumpeter swan. The loss from Iowa in the early 1880s was blamed by our DNR on unregulated market hunting “and the extensive loss of wetland habitats.” That’s only half right.

Wetland drainage did not begin in earnest until after the modern drainage laws were enacted in 1906, more than 20 years after the last pair of trumpeter swans, like the thousands slaughtered before them, was killed by market hunters in 1883 for their fashionable feathers.

The DNR knows that wetland drainage had virtually nothing to do with the extirpation of the swan. In the 1990s school children were regularly told that drainage was solely to blame until that DNR lie was exposed and corrected. The lie is back! Minnesota and Wisconsin DNRs can acknowledge the trumpeter swan market hunting tragedy, why can’t Iowa’s DNR?

— Donald Etler, Spencer