RSPCA to rescue Plymouth swans amid bird flu fears

Swans living at Sutton Harbour in Plymouth are to be rescued by the RSPCA. Credit: Plymouth Live

The RSPCA is planning on removing a bevy of swans from an area of Plymouth amid fears they may have bird flu.

Reports suggest some of the swans in Sutton Harbour have recently died and others may be unwell.

RSPCA officials have visited the birds, and one was taken to a vet for treatment.

Residents fear the swans may have caught bird flu. Credit: Plymouth Live

It is not thought the bird has contracted avian influenza but it will now be monitored, and an RSPCA spokesperson confirmed the remaining swans will be temporarily taken away by Defra.

“I've spoken to an inspector who has rescued one of the swans,” the charity spokesperson said.

“It's been taken to a vet where its condition will be monitored. It's not thought to be avian flu by the vets because the swan is not showing any symptoms."

A resident who lives nearby said swans had been “passing away daily”.

She described the deaths as a “sad loss” and said members of the community would be “devastated” by what has happened.

"A lady called Beth who is very known to all local people kindly feeds and takes care of the swans many times a day, feeding from her own pocket,” she explained.

Sutton Harbour Holdings is encouraging anyone who sees an unwell swan in the area to get in touch with the RSPCA.

A spokesperson for SHH said: "We are sorry to learn that some of the swans regularly seen in Sutton Harbour are reported to be unwell.

Reports of bird flu have risen across the UK.

"Swans are wild birds protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and we have seen increasing numbers in the harbour in recent years."

Anyone finding dead wild birds should report it to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 5577. 

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