"Wade Island is home to the state's largest nesting colony of black-crowned night-herons and great egrets, both of which are on Pennsylvania's endangered species list," said Dan Brauning, Game Commission Wildlife Diversity Section supervisor.
"Unfortunately, there is a limited number of nesting sites on Wade Island," Brauning
noted that extreme care is taken to not disturb the endangered species nesting on the island.
Culling efforts will be stopped immediately if it is perceived that activities are threatening the nesting of egrets or herons.
To ensure public safety, the Game Commission
has been providing law enforcement assistance or arranging for assistance from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
throughout the operation.
The equipment used is designed to reduce any risks and is used in the safest manner possible.
noted that studies have shown when nesting cormorants encroach upon colonies of other nesting birds, including both black-crowned night-herons and great egrets, they reduce the amount of nesting space for those other nesting species.
In addition, cormorants have been known to take over egret nests and also kill trees as a result of their nesting activity.
Several other cases found that cormorant droppings on the leaves and branches of nesting trees apparently caused egrets to abandon colonies.
stressed that culling a portion of the cormorants was not the first option explored, and has been used only twice.
noted that in 2004 and 2005, the agency attempted to encourage nesting by egrets and night-herons on neighboring islands.
However, that effort was met with limited to no success.
"Trying to lure some of Wade Island's herons and egrets to a nearby island was unsuccessful," Brauning
"The Game Commission
is responsible for managing all of the Commonwealth's wildlife species," Brauning