Newport swan family reunited after 'horror scene' violence
A family of Newport swans which was torn apart by tragedy was reunited thanks to the hard work of a Shropshire wildlife charity, despite its busiest day ever.
A swan pair on the Newport canal welcomed a clutch of new cygnets into the world on Monday or shortly before, but an over-inquisitive coot provoked the father of the swans to violence.
The male (cob) swan attacked and killed the coot on Monday after he saw it observing his babies, but in the chaos that followed several of the cygnets were killed and eggs trampled.
"It was like a horror scene," said Fran Hill, who manages the Cuan Wildlife Rescue centre near Much Wenlock.
Volunteers from the centre took the mother (pen) swan and her remaining cygnets away from the father to look after them while he calmed down.
The mother and her babies recovered overnight at the centre and the volunteers returned to the canal on Tuesday to re-introduce them to the father, who dashed straight over when he realised what the humans were dropping off.
Fran explained: "The first that we knew about it there had been an altercation with the cob swan and a coot. A coot was paying far too much attention to the cygnets.
"The cob allowed it for a short period of time but it kept coming and looking, and the cob went on to kill the coot.
"He was then so worked up that sadly, during the attack, he killed a couple of his cygnets. The family had cygnets and some of them were still hatching. Some eggs were trampled.
"He got exceptionally stressed out by it all."
The Cuan Wildlife Rescue was called on Monday, when it was dealing with 58 new arrivals – its busiest day ever.
Volunteers were able to take the pen, her cygnets and some eggs away but the cob was too aggressive to contain so he was left on the canal alone.
The centre cared for the babies at their centre while they became used to their mother and vice versa, ready to return them to their natural habitat on Tuesday.
Five cygnets survived and were taken back to the wild, while two eggs hatched though the babies that emerged were too weak to survive in the wild on their own so they remain at the centre.
"It was a very harrowing day," said Fran. "The cob swan was left all alone, not knowing what was happening to his family – it was very upsetting.
"But seeing them [reunited] would bring a tear to the hardest.
"He heard them and came flying down the canal to see his young."
The swans reunited on Tuesday and sailed together down the canal, and as of Wednesday morning they had been reported safe and sound.
To learn more about Cuan Wildlife Rescue, visit their website at cuanwildliferescue.org.uk.