White swan turned black after 'printer toner' dumped in pond

The swan was almost completely black. Credit: RSPCA

A white swan was turned completely black after a 'substance' believed to be printer toner was dumped in a pond.

The RSPCA had to launch a rescue operation to save the bird, which was found covered in the black substance in a pond in Wiltshire.

The bird was spotted in distress off Mane Way in Westbury on Saturday 13 February and an RSPCA rescue team was sent to catch him before he was taken to a specialist wildlife centre.

The swan before it was rescued. Credit: RSPCA

RSPCA Inspector Miranda Albinson said: “The bird was preening to try to clean off the substance but while they are doing this they are not feeding and they will become weak so we have to act fast before this happens. 

“If a substance like this is not removed from waterbirds it reduces the natural waterproofing in their plumage, leaving them at risk of dying from hypothermia - so it is vital that they are treated as soon as possible."

The swan being cleaned by RSPCA West Hatch Rescue Centre staff. Credit: RSPCA

The swan was taken to West Hatch Wildlife Centre where he will be cleaned several times to get rid of the black powdery substance, described as similar to printer toner or graphite by the animal care team.

Insp Albinson said: "We are concerned for a second swan, the mate of the swan who was rescued, as we know they had been affected by the substance but managed to fly away so would encourage anyone who sees any birds in a black substance in this area to call us on 0300 1234 999."

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