Brick, NJ group fights to reunite rescued swan with its family
The Brick Township swan was set to be euthanized months ago after some neighbors in Seawood Harbor complained about his aggressive behavior toward jet skiers, boaters and others.
But other residents claim it was the jet skiers and boaters who were terrorizing Alfie, who was simply protecting its mate Gertrude and their six babies.
The complaining neighbors made a request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to remove Alfie from the lagoon, which would have meant euthanization. But Alfie was spared the death penalty after it became caught in some fishing wire. It was rescued and has been living at the Popcorn Park Animal Refuge in Lacey since July.
But Alfie remains separated from its swan family. So, a local coalition has been fighting to reunite them, whether it's in Seawood Harbor or somewhere else.
Brick resident Irene Almeida has been spearheading the "Save Our Swans #AlfiesLaw" coalition. She said the goal is to reunite the swan family but the state of New Jersey will not allow that, as it is against the law to move swans. Almeida said she has faith this will still happen.
The group also received approval from Mayor John Ducey to allow signs to be placed in strategic areas where swans congregate. Almeida said the signs warn people it is against the law to harass waterfowl.
"So we're hoping that people, through education, decide that they're going to keep a distance, and they're going to know how to behave and co-exist with the swans," she said.
The town is making these signs free to homeowners who wish to place them on their properties. Almeida said the signs can be placed on private or Brick-owned properties but not on state or federal lands.
One sign has been placed on Rochester Drive, which is Brick-owned and where many swans congregate.
She's also hoping "Alfie's Law" legislation makes it to a vote. The office of state Sen. James Holzapfel, R-Ocean, has been working on the bill with Susan Russell from the Animal Protection League of NJ. By the end of the year, or the beginning of 2022, Almeida said she hopes there will be something that can be presented to the governing bodies.
Anyone interested can follow the group's progress on their Facebook page.
As far as Alfie, Almeida said it's doing great at the Popcorn Park Zoo. She said Alfie's been mingling and making friends.
"We hope that education and a little fear of the law will deter thoughtless humans from harassing the local waterfowl, especially swans, who fight back to protect their family," Almeida said.