Fife villagers anger over death of resident swan

The swan on the loch
The swan on the loch

Nature lovers in Kinghorn have been left upset and angry after the loch’s resident male swan had to be put down after being injured by discarded fishing line.

The swan, one half of a pair which settled on the loch around five years ago and which have raised cygnets there for the past three years, became entangled in the line last week.

Marilyn Edwards

Marilyn Edwards

His predicament was spotted by a walker who reported it to the owner of Craigencalt Farm, on the edge of the loch. Two men from the farm went to investigate and were able to cut the line which was caught around one of the bird’s legs, but couldn’t get it all off.

Later that day, members of the Kirkcaldy Canoe Club took out the club’s safety boat and, accompanied by an officer from the SSPCA, managed to remove all the fishing line and release the swan.

However, last Thursday it was observed that he was still not using his right leg and the SSPCA was called back.

The officer took the swan to the SSPCA care centre at Fishcross, but unfortunately they found that its ankle joint was so badly damaged it had to be put to sleep.

Marilyn Edwards, from the Craigencalt Trust, said: “This has left many people in the area very angry and upset.

“We had problems with discarded fishing line a few years ago and started to record them, but the problem seemed to reduce with the restricted fishing zones. I believe this happened in an area which was not designated for fishing.

“We have seen the female swan on one of the barley straw rafts where they usually nest, but we are not sure if she has laid any eggs there yet. She has also been seen out on the loch, so she may be looking for her mate.

“Swans mate for life and they are very fussy, so she may never take a new partner, or she may move away from the loch which would be very sad.

“We are having a meeting with all the groups which use the loch on Saturday when we will discuss what can be done. One of the ideas is to carry out a regular circuit of the loch to report back on any problems.”

Bob Ward, SSPCA animal welfare officer, said: “The line was wrapped so tight that it caused nerve damage and loss of circulation to the swan’s leg. The local canoe club at Kinghorn Loch were great and with their help the swan was caught. Sadly it was so badly injured the kindest thing was to put the bird to sleep.

“We urge the public to be more careful with their fishing hooks and line when disposing of them as we deal with so many similar incidents on a weekly basis.

“Wildlife can get tangled up in the hooks and line and if swallowed can cause internal damage. This could so easily be avoided by clearing away every piece of equipment.”

To contact the animal helpline, call 03000 999 999.