Cleveland Metroparks Zoo welcomed six trumpeter swan cygnets that hatched over June 5 and 6, 2011. Visitors can see them at the Zoo's Waterfowl Lake.
Trumpeter swans were once native to larger portions of North America, including Ohio, prior to their being hunted by European settlers for their meat and feathers. They are now found mostly in Alaska, western Canada and Wyoming and have been reintroduced in 10 states in their historic native range.
The largest, and loudest, of the various swan species, trumpeters were listed as an endangered species from 1931-1971. In 1996 the Ohio reintroduction program was started by the Ohio Division of Wildlife and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. One component was the collection of eggs from wild swans in Alaska in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Each year for three years, the Zoo collected 50 eggs from Alaska, brought them to Cleveland and incubated them. When they hatched, the cygnets were raised here, and then were moved to a holding facility at The Wilds (a wildlife conservation park near Columbus) for the next 22 months. They were then released at pre-determined sites throughout the state.
The father of our new cygnets was hatched from one of the Alaskan eggs. He was injured during his holding at The Wilds and was not able to be released. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, all six of his recently hatched cygnets should eventually be released into the wild.