Devon town’s iconic black swans die from bird flu

  • Cllr Alison Foden, Mayor of Dawlish, speaks to ITV News West Country about the death of the swans.

Six black swans in a Devon town have died after contracting bird flu.

An adult and five cygnets died from the virus in Dawlish on 9 November.

Two others died the following day - though the cause of their deaths has not yet been established.

The town’s mayor described the deaths as “devastating”, adding the birds hold a “special place” within the community.

The swans have become a significant tourist attraction over the years, having first been brought to the town in the 1800s.

The black swans were first brought to Dawlish in the 1800s. Credit: Devon Live

Public Health England has said the virus poses little risk to the wider public but have asked people to avoid going near the birds.

Nine swans remain - one of which is isolating - while the others are being monitored in their natural habitat.

Other populations of birds in the South West have died of the virus in recent days - including three geese at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.

The strain of the bird flu is "considered very low risk" of human transmission, Public Health England said.

Read more: