An oiled swan was rescued near an Eastbourne KFC yesterday (Sunday).
East Sussex WRAS stepped in to save the animal which was spotted by the fast food restaurant in Lottbridge Drove that morning.
As rescuers Tony and Claire Neads arrived the swan had already been put back on the Crumbles sewer which leads to Princes Park Lake.
They noticed it was struggling and was becoming rapidly waterlogged and gradually sinking lower in the water.
The rescuers got some equipment out of the ambulance and managed to capture the swan from the back of the river. They covered the freezing bird in towels and rushed it to the WRAS’s hospital at Whitesmith near Lewes.
On arrival the WRAS’s Care Team were waiting and could see the swan was covered in a substance which they believed could be cooking oil.
Chris Riddington, lead casualty manager, said, “The poor swan was clearly struggling and was soaked through due the oil taking his waterproofing away.”
Following advice from the Swan Sanctuary, Chris and Casualty Manager Katie Nunn Nash took the swan up to WRAS shower room and, using fairy liquid, began to try and remove some of the sticky oil from the swan’s head, neck and underbelly.
After a good while spent cleaning, the swan was dried and placed on a heat mat to try and bring his body temperature back up to normal.
The incident has been reported to the Environment Agency (Ref 1603862).
Chris said, “We are asking anyone living along the river from Princes Park to Leeds Avenue please keep an eye out for any wildlife that looks like its waterlogged or struggling like fish gasping etc.
“Ducks and swans should never looks sodden and water should run off their backs. This oil isn’t black or obvious and will just look like the bird is soaking wet and dirty.”
Anyone with concerns can call WRAS’ rescue line on 07815078234 and, if you can see oil, contact the Environment Agency on 0800 807060.