RSPCA very worried about swans' plight
THE RSPCA says it is "extremely concerned" about the welfare of the swans living in Priory Park, Bodmin and the body is in contact with Natural England about moving them elsewhere.
The RSPCA statement comes after concerns over the swans were raised by swan charity founder Jayne Castling and Gail Glaser, the Bodmin woman who spent £2,500 in a single year feeding the birds.
Bodmin Town Council has repeatedly denied that the swans are in any sort of danger, stating that the Environmental Agency (EA) regularly tests the water and has found it to be in good condition.
"Although the water looks horrendous at times, it actually isn't," town councillor Lance Kennedy said.
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"There's nothing wrong with the birds. They're not suffering. We've spoken with many experts and none of them think there's anything wrong. The oily sheen on the surface of the water is actually natural oil, which the EA say is coming from the rhododendron bushes."
The RSPCA said their inspectors make regular visits to check on the swans' welfare and are currently in talks with Natural England to see if they will grant a licence to relocate them. It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to relocate swans unless a licence is granted.
"If a licence is granted and continuing investigations show that moving them elsewhere would be the best thing for their welfare, we would be happy to look at moving them," an RSPCA statement said.
Swan Lifeline charity founder Jayne Castling, from Boscastle, has described the swans' living conditions as "terrible" and wants the birds to be moved immediately.
Mrs Castling, 74, believes there are three main issues with the pond; a lack of clean water, a shortage of natural green food and lack of opportunities to graze.
"They cannot stay there much longer," she said. "I've written to Bodmin Town Council to get this sorted once and for all. The whole thing is ludicrous.
"They may be well fed with grain but they need natural greenery. The pond is dirty and muddy and there are no ramps to allow them to hop out onto the nearby grass to graze. They can't fly out because the female is lame and the high trees restrict them."
"The solution in a case like this would be to solve the vegetation problem and build the necessary facilities to allow them to exit and enter the pond," a Natural England representative said.
There were plans in 2009 to temporarily relocate the swans to restore the ecosystem and allow plant life to regrow, but nothing materialised.