Pitville Park swans ‘recovering’ after being covered in dirty cooking oil

George and Maisie will return to Pittville Park once they've made a full recovery Credit: The Swan Sanctuary

Two swans rescued from a lake in Cheltenham are recovering at an animal sanctuary after their feathers were damaged by cooking oil contamination.

George and Maisie, two popular swans at the Pittville Park boating lake, were removed from their home just before Christmas after dirty cooking oil polluted a small, unfrozen area of the water.

Non-profit organisation Pittville Swans and Friends rescued the birds in December after noticing that they 'had lost their waterproofing, found it difficult to swim, could not fly and were soaked through to the skin.'

A number of other birds were harmed by the pollution, and it was thought that they had also ingested the oil.

It was revealed on Wedensday (January 18) that the two swans are being looked after at the Swan Sanctuary on the banks of the River Thames in Middlesex, but will be returning to Cheltenham after making a full recovery.

In a Facebook post, the sanctuary said: "The famous George and Maisie of Pittville have been staying with us since they were sadly contaminated with oil on their home lake.

"They have been washed twice but their feathers have been damaged by the contamination. Their waterproofing will take time to recover.

“We aim to get them home as soon as we can, but George and Maisie have an en-suite pen to themselves and an indoor area for colder nights.”

Steve Knight, a trustee at The Swan Sanctuary added that one of two of the swans could have been covered in more than just cooking oil.

"It was probably something like surface water in a road gully as well and a cocktail of things," he said.

Cheltenham Borough Council says it’s investigating the substances and likely origin.

It’s also working with the Environment Agency and local wildlife groups to ensure it doesn't happen again.