Emergency swans rescue

Swan rescue at Hampden Park SUS-140909-175305001
Swan rescue at Hampden Park SUS-140909-175305001

A family of cygnets has been rescued from Hampden Park’s Decoy Pond amid fears of parasites in the water.

Volunteer rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue helped by staff from Eastbourne Borough Council had to launch an emergency swan rescue after a dead cygnet was found in the pond on Monday.

Council officers asked specialist veterinary staff from the Shepperton-based Swan Sanctuary to post mortem the cygnet.

Staff at the sanctuary were shocked at the cygnet’s condition and he weighed just 2.7kg – almost half its expected weight due to a severe parasite burden, caused by the unusually warm summer.

The Swan Sanctuary then phoned East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service whose members have also stepped in to assess the rest of the family and say after weighing two cygnets, they were also underweight.

WRAS founder Trevor Weeks said, “It was clear the cygnets were nowhere near as lively as should be expected, so we decided to go for the slow and patient approach waiting for suitable opportunities to catch them and the parents where possible.”

“After seeking advice from the Swan Sanctuary it was decided to take them up to their hospital as a matter of urgency. The cygnets will keep each other company and are going to need a lot of love and care from the staff at the Swan Sanctuary” said Trevor.

In 2008 WRAS had to step in to rescue a family of swans after exactly the same incident occurred, which sadly led to most of the family dying. “We really did not want a repeat of what happened in 2008 which included losing one of the parents,” said Trevor. “We really hope these cygnets will survive. Certainly two of them probably would not have survived more than a couple of nights if they had been left.”

An Eastbourne Borough Council spokesperson said, “A cygnet died at Decoy Pond over the weekend. A full post mortem was carried out and the cause of death was found to be parasites. We have been working to ensure the remaining swans and cygnets who live there are well cared for.”