VIDEO: Dramatic swan rescue at Eastbourne’s Sovereign Harbour

Trevor approaching the swan
Trevor approaching the swan

Rescuers were called down to Sovereign Harbour after a swan was found on the shingle beach causing a lot of interest from the public.

The harbour office called out East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) who were on site within 30 minutes yesterday (Tuesday). Unfortunately well meaning members of the public encouraged the swan back into the water, thinking the animal was safer there.

When rescuers arrived on site they had to drive around to the opposite side and walk quite a distance in order to observe the swan.

After about 15 minutes rescuers were unsure about its behaviour – especially as the swan was shaking his head and clearly wanting to get out the water.

Unfortunately harbour wall and rocks prevented the animal getting onto try land. So, rescuers were pleased when the swan decided to swim back to the shingle beach.

After driving back round, rescuers walked down to the water’s edge and cut off the swan’s escape route. They lulled it into a false sense of security by feeding it.

Duty rescuer co-ordinator Trevor Weeks very slowly inched forward getting closer and closer before being able to spring forward and catch the swan.

He said, “You have to be so careful when catching swans, you can easily scare them back into the water, so approaching slowly and being patient is always best and far less stressful on the swan than using a swan hook or net or trying to chase it with boats out on the water.”

Rescuers checked over the swan once back at the top of the beach, where they found a wound under the right wing.

Trevor said, “Its behaviour and injuries were that of a swan involved in a collision. So we carried the swan to our nearby ambulances where it was then driven to WRAS’s Casualty Centre.”

Lead casualty manager Chris Riddington checked the swan over and cleaned up its injuries and medication was administered. The swan was bedded down but it is hoped the wounds will heal fairly quickly and be suitable for release within the week.

Chris said, “We are seeking advice from specialists at the Swan Sanctuary and the swan will go up to them if necessary.”