By Harriet Ernstsons Thursday 07 March 2013 Updated: 08/03 09:07
LEAD poisoning could be the cause of the death of a swan which has nested at Paper Mill pond for years.
The swan died before it could be treated by rescuers from Wychbold Swan Rescue but a concerned resident suggested lead shot could be the reason for it falling ill.
The loss of the bird means there are unlikely to be any cygnets born at the site this year, following the death of all eight born last May. It comes after incidents at Arrow Valley Lake reported by the Standard last July which saw five birds taken ill after being poisoned by lead shots, which were made illegal in 1986.
Jan Harrigan, from Wychbold Swan Rescue, said due to the death of the bird, the centre had been unable to confirm through blood tests whether lead was the cause.
"It is only illegal to use certain sizes of lead, some are perfectly legal. It is a ridiculous law," she said.
"There is a chance the male might mate this year but I would think there will be little chance of that as he would like to grieve and get over losing his partner who he's had for a long time.
"He will go and find a new wife perhaps for next year but some never do, it depends how long they have been together. I don't like losing them like that but there is not a lot you can do."
Coun Debbie Taylor, responsible for local environment on Redditch Borough Council, said: "It’s tragic whenever we see birds suffering from lead poisoning, which still occurs even though it has been impossible to get lead shot for a generation now.
"We’ve recently raised this issue across the council’s various sites and feedback is that no one has used lead fishing weights for ages. So whether the few cases we still see are the tail-end effect of the historical use of lead shot, we just don’t know.
"Our continued thanks to Wychbold Swan Rescue for the great job they do helping the injured waterfowl we come across on our daily patrols. I would urge residents to continue to contact the council with any concerns over the welfare of birds in our parks."
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