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Officials Plan to Eliminate Mute Swans from New York State by 2025

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February 03, 2014

Officials Plan to Eliminate Mute Swans from New York State by 2025

By David Draper

For whatever reason, swans are one of those touchstone species that people get sentimental about. Regarded as a symbol of serene beauty, they can actually be quite aggressive, damaging to the vegetation, and dangerous to aircraft. Mute swans are also a non-native species, having been brought to the U.S. in the late 1800s. In an effort to protect the public and restore balance to the ecosystem, New York recently announced plans to eliminate the state’s population of more than 2,000 wild mute swans, reports Yahoo News.

“Ever since US Airways flight 1549 collided with a flock of geese in 2009 and landed on the Hudson river, the US Department of Agriculture has set about annually culling Canada geese. Now the New York state conservation department wants to expand the offensive and eliminate free-ranging mute swans by 2025, killing them or allowing 'responsible ownership' of the birds in captivity."

Paul Curtis, associate professor in the department of natural resources of Cornell University, told AFP that it was appropriate and in keeping with proposals in other states. There have been four documented swan strikes at JFK airport, he said. Swans can pose a nuisance and they deplete food sources.”

Also, they scare motorists, as you can see in the video below.

Comments (20)

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from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 5 days ago

Let me this this straight. When hunters who cull wolves a particularly savage animal on its prey are under death threats, when a non-native python season (or was it a bounty) was proposed in the everglades to stop an incredibly dangerous invasive species there were public cries about hurting the snakes (can snakes even feel or comprehend pain?), A state government is going to kill and wipe out a aesthetically beautiful (but destructive) species.

The trial lawyers have got to be renting billboards by the hundreds in our capitals of “Art” now.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 5 days ago

Capitals of Art meaning NYC and Hollywood of course.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from hermit crab wrote 10 weeks 5 days ago

Rocky: There's a big difference between wolf reintroduction and mute swan eradication, regarding conservation of natural resources. Wolves were native, mute swans weren't.

The mute swans (the non-native swan species) are damaging to marsh vegetation, but also incredibly territorial, running other native waterfowl out of the habitat during nesting season and in some cases killing them. For this reason, removing the mute swans should be a big issue to sportsmen. Also, as expected, there are a lot of people up in arms about killing them off, but like you said, people would be up in arms about trying to kill pythons...

I say give the game wardens a .22 and a brick of ammo. The problem would be gone quickly.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 5 days ago

Hermit;

Maybe I mis-spoke. I agree with all you said (wrote). But what is smart, scientific, or an aviation safety imperative is going to get lost in the “lets not hurt the beautiful swans maybe we can neuter them, there must be another way” initiative.

And the trial lawyers will be lining up to make a buck off this and string it out as long as possible. This is one of those things in life that is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. If the state was smart, it would have been done by now, and never been made it public. I my wife’s plane goes down after a swan strike, can I sue PETA?

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hermit crab wrote 10 weeks 5 days ago

I hear ya Rocky. The real issue in my mind is that Mute Swans are a protected species in a lot (most, all?) states, and you therefore you can't kill them without a special state-issued permit. If the state wants them gone, just remove their protected status and we'll take care of the rest! It'd be a lot less dramatic and hippie-inciting that way

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Patty Adjamine wrote 10 weeks 4 days ago

Let's give "Stupid of the Year" award to woman who shot "Swan Attack" video used to demonize swans in this piece. Tired of the people who deliberately provoke wildlife and then scream, "OH MY GAWD!!" when the animal actually reacts. That Field and Stream posted this nonsense video to "make its case" for a swan genecide completely destroys all credibility.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Patty Adjamine wrote 10 weeks 4 days ago

I guess Tchaikovsky and Hans Christian Anderson were sloppy "sentimentalists."

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Patty Adjamine wrote 10 weeks 4 days ago

Ah, the magical words: "Can, may, might and could." The swans "might" take down a plane. They "can" act aggressively. They "may" push out other birds.

I "might" win hundred million dollar lottery -- despite fact I don't bet.

Talk about fairy tales.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dcrocks6 wrote 10 weeks 4 days ago

Patty its not only a "maybe" situation. Birds like these HAVE caused a plane crash, they HAVE acted aggressively towards people (whether provoked or not), and they DO push out native species of waterfowl. There is proof to back all of that up. I'm just going out on a limb here and guessing that you haven't won a hundred million dollar lottery before but these birds have done everything they are previously accused of.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 3 days ago

And the trolls have arrived. What took you so long? Snow storm?

I have been fishing in water with swan and agree they are beautiful graceful creatures no doubt, Very photogenic, I even had a painting made with a few swans in the picture. And they are VERY aggressive. I have seen kids feeding bread to ducklings and the swans attack the ducks and chase the kids. They belong in Russia, or where they are native or in a zoo. Not where they upset what little balance is left in nature. They are not endangered and is NOT genecide. That is a huge over reaction.

What is genicide is the destroying of unique environments and habitats in urban sprawl and pursuit of profit, but the popular culture types are strangely silent on MCMansions. But McMansions they look good.

Where I live we are INFESTED with Chinese stink bugs. I hate them and kill them by the thousands. They are non-native too, but are not pretty. Do they have the same right to exist out of their environment as a swan. They are just not as”pretty”. Do we now value life on the scale of looks alone? Are we that shallow? You bet we are? Just turn on your TV for proof.

The state should just quietly do their job and be done with it. No hunting season for swans, just fix the problem.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 10 weeks 3 days ago

Well, these birds were introduced in New York by *responsible* breeders/fanciers. Mute Swans appear to be an issue around the Lower Hudson [NYC] and Long Island because of the airports...as are geese. I see a few swans now in the NY Finger Lakes.

I think they'd make a great game bird. Put a season on swans & open areas to safe hunting, and this would control them. But that's the rub.

The minute its suggested a gun or a bow should be used to control wildlife in a suburban setting there is a predictable howl.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dale Reisert wrote 10 weeks 2 days ago

Many years ago My Buddy and I were duck hunting opening day in Stony Brook harbor on Long Island, When the sun came up all we saw were Swans everywhere, we started counting and were amazed that when we stopped counting the total was 86 Swans.

Then a few years ago My Fiancee and I went canoeing on Artist Lake in Middle Island N.Y and we were chased all over the lake by a extremely aggessive swan who flew at us and tried to attacked us many times, we finally pulled the canoe to the bank where we had launched a short time before and My Fiancee had to get into my truck as the swan came after us even though we were not even in the water any more, since then when we go canoeing I alwasy carry a can of Hornet spray that can produce a stream of hornet spray app. 25 feet to protect us from the Swans.

The same year I did read in the newpaper a Guy was in a Kayak somewhere in the Mid-West when he was repeatedly attacked by a Swan and after several attacks his Kayak was overturned and the swan contiued to attack him until he had drowned.

Yes they might be pretty but they are very dangerous.

The PETA types will alwasys side with the animals no matter what it might be, The Hampton and PETA types alwasys protested when anyone would deer hunt, but now the deer have become a danger to their Fancy Scrubs and car colisions so much that the Feds are now bringing in their Federal snipers to kill an estimated 3000 deer next month and at the same time Many of the Eastern towns on Long Island will not even let Bow Hunters hunt there but will pay the Feds app. $50,000 to do it, makes no sense to me! If the Bow hunter were allowed to hunt there is would cost nothing!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marion Ambler wrote 10 weeks 20 hours ago

Field and Stream, do a bit of homework before you just spout this nonsense. Do you know ANYTHING about bird strikes?? There are hundreds of bird strikes every year around any large airport. Hundreds. Four mute swan plane/bird strikes at JFK? Since about 1950 when it began?

JFK Airport is right beside Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

"The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge—part of Gateway National Recreation Area—is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Northeastern United States and one of the best places in New York City to observe migrating species. With more than 330 bird species—nearly half the species in the Northeast—sighted at the refuge over the last 25 years, it is a must-see for avian enthusiasts."

Since about 1960, over 700 people have been killed in plane crashes related to JFK Airport. Not even one of those crashes was caused by a mute swan or any other bird. In fact two planes ran into each other in once incident, killed about 134 people in the planes and more on the ground. But it is these 4 swan strikes in 60 years that has your mind in a knot about how dangerous they are?

I will also point out, Flight 1549 ran into MIGRATING GEESE from Labrador, Canada. NYC is ON THE ATLANTIC FLYWAY. They are going to have millions of migrating birds going right past JFK Airport.

You can name any bird you want that lives near JFK and they will also have had many plane strikes. This is not unique to mute swans.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marion Ambler wrote 10 weeks 20 hours ago

And since you mentioned Canada geese...YES we all know where our resident Canada geese populations came from too. Thanks hunters, YOU created this. Government wildlife agencies, hunters releasing live decoys, and groups like Audubon created the Canada goose population. Now the rest of us happen to like these birds you created alive, so the 'culling' of them is going to be stopping soon too.

Swans scare motorists? Motorists often scare me. And domestic dogs kill 30 people a year in the USA and attack and injure many more people and other animals. But swans scaring motorists is the problem?

And swans deplete food sources? Humans have destroyed over 60% of the wetlands in the USA. But now a few swans are 'depleting food sources'.

Maybe some of the human sewage and industrial pollution such as the 1.3 million pounds of cancer causing PCBs GE dumped into the Hudson River also depleted food sources. The lies and exaggerations are absolutely appalling.

No, the anti swan propaganda is NOT going to fly.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marion Ambler wrote 10 weeks 20 hours ago

Mute swans don't appear to be downing planes or killing a lot of people in the UK.

And human sewage and treatment plants seem to be THE major cause of loss of marsh plants in Jamaica Bay.

"The bay, off the Brooklyn and Queens shoreline, is home to a federal wildlife refuge and a popular fishing and boating area. BUT IT HAS ALSO BEEN A DEPOSITORY FOR DISCHARGES FROM NEW YORK CITY’S SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANTS, WHICH IS THOUGHT TO BE A MAJOR CAUSE OF MARSH LOSS."

And with all the water pollution, agriculture run off being another major one, I'm not sure how you expect aquatic vegetation to survive or be healthy for any living creature to even eat. Scapegoating swans won't solve human created problems.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marion Ambler wrote 10 weeks 20 hours ago

Dale Reisert, what is interesting about that swan story is those mute swans were brought to that park because people believed they were aggressive and would run off the Canada geese. The man who drowned worked for the swan management company.

I will also point out, PET DOGS kill about 30 people a year in the USA. They also attack and/or bite 4-7 MILLION more people per year.

I will also point out, HUNTERS also kill a few people every year. But you bring up one swan incident and this is justification for them being labelled 'dangerous'?

Dogs, hunters, humans all killing a lot of people, but you focus on the swans. This does not make any common sense and THIS is what makes a lot of people angry...there is NO common sense here whatsoever.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marion Ambler wrote 10 weeks 19 hours ago

I just read a great blog by Walter Plume titled 'Modern Madness' about the proposed mute swan extermination. I totally agreed. It is madness.

I have never seen humans so lose their little minds and ALL perspective like they do when it comes to wildlife.

Whatever the perceived crime, it is taken out of ALL context with the rest of the world and magnified to the nth degree. This is simply not intelligence and it is an insult to anyone with any and if you people want any credibility or respect you better get on the side of honesty, intelligence, and balance.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 10 weeks 17 hours ago

Ah! The predictable howl.

...Not to worry Marion. These swans aren't stupid. They will disburse to parts far and away when NY-DEC starts wiping them out. Their established population will just flourish in a different local...and provide me with an additional game bird.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 15 hours ago

You know I think she changed my mind. Now I am FOR a swan season. Anyone know a recipe for roast swan? I bet they taste a lot like geese.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 10 weeks 12 hours ago

Swan season in Montana for decades. Swan was a royal dish in the Dark Ages to Tudors in Britain. Roast like a goose, but use a fruit glaze....Orange works nice. Trick to roast. Not careful its tough and gamey.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Patty Adjamine wrote 10 weeks 4 days ago

Let's give "Stupid of the Year" award to woman who shot "Swan Attack" video used to demonize swans in this piece. Tired of the people who deliberately provoke wildlife and then scream, "OH MY GAWD!!" when the animal actually reacts. That Field and Stream posted this nonsense video to "make its case" for a swan genecide completely destroys all credibility.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Patty Adjamine wrote 10 weeks 4 days ago

I guess Tchaikovsky and Hans Christian Anderson were sloppy "sentimentalists."

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Patty Adjamine wrote 10 weeks 4 days ago

Ah, the magical words: "Can, may, might and could." The swans "might" take down a plane. They "can" act aggressively. They "may" push out other birds.

I "might" win hundred million dollar lottery -- despite fact I don't bet.

Talk about fairy tales.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marion Ambler wrote 10 weeks 20 hours ago

Field and Stream, do a bit of homework before you just spout this nonsense. Do you know ANYTHING about bird strikes?? There are hundreds of bird strikes every year around any large airport. Hundreds. Four mute swan plane/bird strikes at JFK? Since about 1950 when it began?

JFK Airport is right beside Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

"The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge—part of Gateway National Recreation Area—is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Northeastern United States and one of the best places in New York City to observe migrating species. With more than 330 bird species—nearly half the species in the Northeast—sighted at the refuge over the last 25 years, it is a must-see for avian enthusiasts."

Since about 1960, over 700 people have been killed in plane crashes related to JFK Airport. Not even one of those crashes was caused by a mute swan or any other bird. In fact two planes ran into each other in once incident, killed about 134 people in the planes and more on the ground. But it is these 4 swan strikes in 60 years that has your mind in a knot about how dangerous they are?

I will also point out, Flight 1549 ran into MIGRATING GEESE from Labrador, Canada. NYC is ON THE ATLANTIC FLYWAY. They are going to have millions of migrating birds going right past JFK Airport.

You can name any bird you want that lives near JFK and they will also have had many plane strikes. This is not unique to mute swans.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marion Ambler wrote 10 weeks 20 hours ago

And since you mentioned Canada geese...YES we all know where our resident Canada geese populations came from too. Thanks hunters, YOU created this. Government wildlife agencies, hunters releasing live decoys, and groups like Audubon created the Canada goose population. Now the rest of us happen to like these birds you created alive, so the 'culling' of them is going to be stopping soon too.

Swans scare motorists? Motorists often scare me. And domestic dogs kill 30 people a year in the USA and attack and injure many more people and other animals. But swans scaring motorists is the problem?

And swans deplete food sources? Humans have destroyed over 60% of the wetlands in the USA. But now a few swans are 'depleting food sources'.

Maybe some of the human sewage and industrial pollution such as the 1.3 million pounds of cancer causing PCBs GE dumped into the Hudson River also depleted food sources. The lies and exaggerations are absolutely appalling.

No, the anti swan propaganda is NOT going to fly.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marion Ambler wrote 10 weeks 20 hours ago

Mute swans don't appear to be downing planes or killing a lot of people in the UK.

And human sewage and treatment plants seem to be THE major cause of loss of marsh plants in Jamaica Bay.

"The bay, off the Brooklyn and Queens shoreline, is home to a federal wildlife refuge and a popular fishing and boating area. BUT IT HAS ALSO BEEN A DEPOSITORY FOR DISCHARGES FROM NEW YORK CITY’S SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANTS, WHICH IS THOUGHT TO BE A MAJOR CAUSE OF MARSH LOSS."

And with all the water pollution, agriculture run off being another major one, I'm not sure how you expect aquatic vegetation to survive or be healthy for any living creature to even eat. Scapegoating swans won't solve human created problems.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 5 days ago

Capitals of Art meaning NYC and Hollywood of course.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 10 weeks 3 days ago

Well, these birds were introduced in New York by *responsible* breeders/fanciers. Mute Swans appear to be an issue around the Lower Hudson [NYC] and Long Island because of the airports...as are geese. I see a few swans now in the NY Finger Lakes.

I think they'd make a great game bird. Put a season on swans & open areas to safe hunting, and this would control them. But that's the rub.

The minute its suggested a gun or a bow should be used to control wildlife in a suburban setting there is a predictable howl.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dale Reisert wrote 10 weeks 2 days ago

Many years ago My Buddy and I were duck hunting opening day in Stony Brook harbor on Long Island, When the sun came up all we saw were Swans everywhere, we started counting and were amazed that when we stopped counting the total was 86 Swans.

Then a few years ago My Fiancee and I went canoeing on Artist Lake in Middle Island N.Y and we were chased all over the lake by a extremely aggessive swan who flew at us and tried to attacked us many times, we finally pulled the canoe to the bank where we had launched a short time before and My Fiancee had to get into my truck as the swan came after us even though we were not even in the water any more, since then when we go canoeing I alwasy carry a can of Hornet spray that can produce a stream of hornet spray app. 25 feet to protect us from the Swans.

The same year I did read in the newpaper a Guy was in a Kayak somewhere in the Mid-West when he was repeatedly attacked by a Swan and after several attacks his Kayak was overturned and the swan contiued to attack him until he had drowned.

Yes they might be pretty but they are very dangerous.

The PETA types will alwasys side with the animals no matter what it might be, The Hampton and PETA types alwasys protested when anyone would deer hunt, but now the deer have become a danger to their Fancy Scrubs and car colisions so much that the Feds are now bringing in their Federal snipers to kill an estimated 3000 deer next month and at the same time Many of the Eastern towns on Long Island will not even let Bow Hunters hunt there but will pay the Feds app. $50,000 to do it, makes no sense to me! If the Bow hunter were allowed to hunt there is would cost nothing!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marion Ambler wrote 10 weeks 20 hours ago

Dale Reisert, what is interesting about that swan story is those mute swans were brought to that park because people believed they were aggressive and would run off the Canada geese. The man who drowned worked for the swan management company.

I will also point out, PET DOGS kill about 30 people a year in the USA. They also attack and/or bite 4-7 MILLION more people per year.

I will also point out, HUNTERS also kill a few people every year. But you bring up one swan incident and this is justification for them being labelled 'dangerous'?

Dogs, hunters, humans all killing a lot of people, but you focus on the swans. This does not make any common sense and THIS is what makes a lot of people angry...there is NO common sense here whatsoever.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marion Ambler wrote 10 weeks 19 hours ago

I just read a great blog by Walter Plume titled 'Modern Madness' about the proposed mute swan extermination. I totally agreed. It is madness.

I have never seen humans so lose their little minds and ALL perspective like they do when it comes to wildlife.

Whatever the perceived crime, it is taken out of ALL context with the rest of the world and magnified to the nth degree. This is simply not intelligence and it is an insult to anyone with any and if you people want any credibility or respect you better get on the side of honesty, intelligence, and balance.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 10 weeks 17 hours ago

Ah! The predictable howl.

...Not to worry Marion. These swans aren't stupid. They will disburse to parts far and away when NY-DEC starts wiping them out. Their established population will just flourish in a different local...and provide me with an additional game bird.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 15 hours ago

You know I think she changed my mind. Now I am FOR a swan season. Anyone know a recipe for roast swan? I bet they taste a lot like geese.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 10 weeks 12 hours ago

Swan season in Montana for decades. Swan was a royal dish in the Dark Ages to Tudors in Britain. Roast like a goose, but use a fruit glaze....Orange works nice. Trick to roast. Not careful its tough and gamey.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 5 days ago

Let me this this straight. When hunters who cull wolves a particularly savage animal on its prey are under death threats, when a non-native python season (or was it a bounty) was proposed in the everglades to stop an incredibly dangerous invasive species there were public cries about hurting the snakes (can snakes even feel or comprehend pain?), A state government is going to kill and wipe out a aesthetically beautiful (but destructive) species.

The trial lawyers have got to be renting billboards by the hundreds in our capitals of “Art” now.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hermit crab wrote 10 weeks 5 days ago

Rocky: There's a big difference between wolf reintroduction and mute swan eradication, regarding conservation of natural resources. Wolves were native, mute swans weren't.

The mute swans (the non-native swan species) are damaging to marsh vegetation, but also incredibly territorial, running other native waterfowl out of the habitat during nesting season and in some cases killing them. For this reason, removing the mute swans should be a big issue to sportsmen. Also, as expected, there are a lot of people up in arms about killing them off, but like you said, people would be up in arms about trying to kill pythons...

I say give the game wardens a .22 and a brick of ammo. The problem would be gone quickly.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 5 days ago

Hermit;

Maybe I mis-spoke. I agree with all you said (wrote). But what is smart, scientific, or an aviation safety imperative is going to get lost in the “lets not hurt the beautiful swans maybe we can neuter them, there must be another way” initiative.

And the trial lawyers will be lining up to make a buck off this and string it out as long as possible. This is one of those things in life that is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. If the state was smart, it would have been done by now, and never been made it public. I my wife’s plane goes down after a swan strike, can I sue PETA?

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hermit crab wrote 10 weeks 5 days ago

I hear ya Rocky. The real issue in my mind is that Mute Swans are a protected species in a lot (most, all?) states, and you therefore you can't kill them without a special state-issued permit. If the state wants them gone, just remove their protected status and we'll take care of the rest! It'd be a lot less dramatic and hippie-inciting that way

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dcrocks6 wrote 10 weeks 4 days ago

Patty its not only a "maybe" situation. Birds like these HAVE caused a plane crash, they HAVE acted aggressively towards people (whether provoked or not), and they DO push out native species of waterfowl. There is proof to back all of that up. I'm just going out on a limb here and guessing that you haven't won a hundred million dollar lottery before but these birds have done everything they are previously accused of.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 10 weeks 3 days ago

And the trolls have arrived. What took you so long? Snow storm?

I have been fishing in water with swan and agree they are beautiful graceful creatures no doubt, Very photogenic, I even had a painting made with a few swans in the picture. And they are VERY aggressive. I have seen kids feeding bread to ducklings and the swans attack the ducks and chase the kids. They belong in Russia, or where they are native or in a zoo. Not where they upset what little balance is left in nature. They are not endangered and is NOT genecide. That is a huge over reaction.

What is genicide is the destroying of unique environments and habitats in urban sprawl and pursuit of profit, but the popular culture types are strangely silent on MCMansions. But McMansions they look good.

Where I live we are INFESTED with Chinese stink bugs. I hate them and kill them by the thousands. They are non-native too, but are not pretty. Do they have the same right to exist out of their environment as a swan. They are just not as”pretty”. Do we now value life on the scale of looks alone? Are we that shallow? You bet we are? Just turn on your TV for proof.

The state should just quietly do their job and be done with it. No hunting season for swans, just fix the problem.

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