Our wildlife centre staff treat all sorts of injured wild animals and we have many successes. This is just one of them.
A family of mute swans from Plymouth were admitted to RSPCA's West Hatch wildlife centre after being attacked by a dog. The dog's owner had failed to control their pet to prevent the attack. Both of the adult birds suffered bite wounds to the head and neck while protecting their young, but the cygnets were thankfully unharmed.
The family were kept in care at the wildlife centre until their wounds had healed and the birds were back to full health. They were then returned to their riverside nest a few weeks later.
Unfortunately this was not the first incident involving these adult swans. Last year two of their cygnets were pushed from a wall in a park and one sadly died.
Following this recent incident the police have sent out a clear message to dog owners in the area that the blame lies with the owner. In this case the dog owners were fined and banned from owning a dog. As wild birds, swans are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
In the meantime, the swans have settled back at their nest site and are thriving again, with the cygnets from this year reportedly being the biggest and healthiest looking birds for some time.
Peter Venn, wildlife centre manager, said:
When the swans were brought in to us, they looked to be in a very bad way, but despite the nasty head and neck wounds they were actually very lucky.
The injuries had not touched the vertebrae in the neck or fractured the skull. We gave them antibiotics and painkillers.
It was an unusual and inspiring result after such a serious attack.
Learn more about how human activity can affect animals like these swans in the wild.