Eight young trumpeter swans, also known as cygnets, were released in Yellowstone National Park last month to help offset a half-century population decline, according to a news release from the park.

Staff from the park, the Wyoming Wetlands Society and the Ricketts Conservation Foundation released them at Alum Creek in Hayden Valley on Sept. 19.

In the early 1960s, there were more than 60 birds and 17 territorial pairs, but that declined for a variety of undetermined reasons to only four birds in 2009 and 2010.

Researchers are collecting population data such as nest success, number of territorial pairs, and the number of cygnets produced each year to find the reasons for the decline.

Recent releases and other restoration efforts have bolstered the population to more than 20 birds and five territorial pairs, including natural reproduction in some years.

The effort is a public/private partnership among the National Park Service, Wyoming Wetlands Society, Ricketts Conservation Foundation, and Montana State University.

Foundation founder Joe Ricketts participated in thecygnet release. His fund also supports avian conservation efforts in the region, including common loons and Clark’s nutcrackers.


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