After word broke on Monday that the Port Authority had issued an order to kill snowy owls at New York Airports, officials have announced plans to end the practice, responding to the demands of outraged New Yorkers and a letter from the Audubon Society.
"The Port Authority is working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to move immediately toward implementing a program to trap and relocate snowy owls that pose a threat to aircraft at [John F. Kennedy] and LaGuardia airports," the agency said in a statement Monday night, according the the New York Daily News. "The Port Authority's goal is to strike a balance in humanely controlling bird populations at and around the agency's airports to safeguard passengers on thousands of aircrafts each day."
Officials fear that the birds will get sucked into jet engines and endanger the passengers -- five planes were reportedly struck by owls over the past two weeks. But at other airports, like Boston Logan International, trapping programs are used to humanely deal with the problem. And -- good news -- trapped owls in New York will even have a home awaiting them: upstate businessman Donald Gelestino, 45, has offered 170 acres of land he owns in Sullivan County to use as a haven for the owls. "Even in the hunting world, you don't shoot a snowy owl," Gelestino said.