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Rescued swan goes wild

Whooper swan is released back into the wild.
Whooper swan is released back into the wild.

A whooper swan found along the road to WWT Welney Wetland centre has been successfully released back into the wild.

The swan, which had no obvious injuries but would not fly, was taken to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre, near King’s Lynn.

The female swan was found by WWT Welney marketing officer, Emma Brand, as she returned to the centre after a downpour in December.

She said: “As I made my way back to the centre, I could see a swan in the road, I slowed down and put my hazard lights on to warn oncoming traffic as it was just after dusk and visibility wasn’t great.

“I got out of the car to see if the swan would fly off, in case it had mistaken the shiny road for water and landed by mistake. But despite making a normal ‘take-off run’, it didn’t get into the air.

“I called my colleague, Louise Clewley, at the centre to see if she could bring a swan jacket, at which point we were able to safely catch the swan and check it for obvious injuries.

“There were none so we thought it best to contact the RSPCA, in case of an underlying problem.

“The swan spent Christmas with the RSPCA, where they have the facilities and expertise to give her a full health check, X-ray her and make sure that she was ready to be put back in the wild.

“She had legs rings fitted by the RSPCA so that she can be identified in the future and they then contacted WWT about bringing the bird back down to the reserve so that the best place to release her could be found.”

Louise Clewley, a warden at WWT Welney, said: “The bright orange ring encoded with YKA is unique to this bird and means that we may be able to spot her again in the future.”

A quiet spot on the Ouse Washes was the perfect place to release her back onto the wetlands. There she had the opportunity to take to the skies if she wanted or to wait until thousands of other swans returned to the reserve at dusk.

WWT advises the public to contact the RSPCA should they find a creature in distress by calling 0300 1234 999.

Visitors can see whooper swans at WWT Welney until March, when they start to migrate to their breeding grounds in Iceland.

The commentated wild swan feeds run daily until Sunday, March 13, with special floodlit feeds until Sunday, February 28.

For more information visit the website at: www.wwt.org.uk/welney

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