A swan covered in diesel oil is recovering at an animal sanctuary after being found cowering in bushes close to Stenton Pond in Glenrothes.
The weak male adult mute swan was discovered hiding in bushes by a member of the public who immediately contacted an animal charity for help.
Staff at the National Wildlife Rescue Centre at Fishcross, near Alloa were called in to rescue the bird, carefully removing an extensive amount of oil that had covered the head, neck and wings.
The swan is now being nursed back to health by specially trained staff at the centre.
Colin Seddon, centre manager, told the Gazette: “The person who found the swan in the bushes was concerned by his refusal to move despite the close presence of several dogs, a clear indication that he was in need of assistance.
“Our animal rescue officer brought the swan in to us and we gently removed all traces of diesel from his skin, using the specialist oiled bird facilities we have here.
“From the pattern of coverage it would appear that the swan had dipped his head and neck into a diesel oil spill which had possibly gathered in reeds at the edge of the pond.”
He added: “It is not uncommon for waterfowl to come into our care in this state, often as a result of people irresponsibly disposing of oil in ponds and waterways.
“This is a very reckless and dangerous thing to do as diesel is an irritant which can cause extreme burning to the skin and, if ingested, can also do a great deal of damage internally.
“Birds can and do die from the injuries they sustain from this type of oil so we’d strongly urge people to dispose of this material in a responsible manner.’’
Mr Seddon said the animal could easily have died if it had been left unattended for much longer and praised the quick response of the walker who found the bird.
“Thankfully we were able to clean and treat the swan before it was too late, although he has lost a lot of neck feathers due to the burning effect of the oil and he was underweight on arrival, suggesting he may have swallowed some of the diesel too.’’
“We hope this swan will continue to improve and put on weight and that we’ll be able to return him to the wild,’’ he added.