The Washington Times - May 19, 2009, 07:51AM

Some years ago when the state of Maryland decided that a growing black bear population in its westernmost counties needed to be kept in check, the Department of Natural Resources decided that a very limited hunt to remove a small number of bears would do the job.

However, animal rights protesters got into the act and the wildlife managers actually appeared to be intimidated. They gave in to the loudest voices of the anti-hunters and only a tiny number of bears were killed, in the long run solving nothing.


The bears flourish and western Maryland residents who’ve had bee hives, bird feeders, trash cans and cabins raided aren’t happy. Never mind the farmers who’ve seen crops damaged.

Now, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is happy to pass along news that television talk show host Montel Williams has joined them to ask Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley to “end the killing of mute swans on the Chesapeake Bay.”

Why Montel Williams? Well, it appears that the TV host used to live in Maryland and because of that wrote a letter asking the governor “to allow allow the Bay’s mute swans to live out their lives in peace.”

Never mind that the mute swans don’t belong in the Chesapeake Bay. Never mind that they do considerable damage to slowly recurring and urgently needed Bay grasses that every native creature in Bay country depends on. Without the aquatic vegetation, ducks, geese, striped bass, crabs and heaven only knows what other local critters, cannot prosper and grow. Because of that threat, the DNR has had to eliminate the unwanted birds.

But Mr. Williams now is designating himself not only a TV mouthpiece but also a wildlife biologist, it appears. He said, ““The few swans left in the Chesapeake are not damaging the environment, and should therefore be left to live,” wrote Williams.

Wonder how he knows so much more than the professional biologists paid to manage the state’s wildlife?

“Now we have Montel Williams telling the DNR how to manage wildlife,” said reader Jack Scanlon. “And soon Michael Vick will be a spokesman for PETA.”

Mr. Scanlon makes a strong point. Perhaps Mr. Williams would be better served sharpening his interview and talk show-hosting skills (which I believe aren’t the best in the industry) and leave wildlife management to the professionals who are trained to do just that —- without whining, griping and complaining, getting teary-eyed over subjects that should be handled without allowing emotion to dictate proper action.

The mute swan problem in Maryland is not a subject that ought to result in a Disney movie.