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Eight swans cleaned up after getting covered in oil in Southampton river

Eight swans cleaned up after getting covered in oil in Southampton river

Joint rescue mission between RSPCA, Swan Support and Maritime Volunteer Service.

Eight swans who were covered in oil have returned home after being cleaned up at an RSPCA wildlife centre.
A team of RSPCA frontline officers, Swan Support staff and representatives from the Maritime Volunteer Service rescued the swans from a river next to Quayside Road, in Southampton, on 12 January, and took them to the RSPCA’s West Hatch centre to be washed.

Thankfully, the swans made a full recovery and have now been returned to the river.

David Couper, senior clinician at West Hatch, said: “Oil in our waterways is a huge hazard for birds, and it is really important that we act quickly in situations like this. If oil is not removed from waterbirds quickly, it reduces the natural waterproofing in their plumage, leaving them at risk of dying from hypothermia.

“The swans also preen to try and clean themselves but while they are doing this they are not feeding and they will become weak - like these eight swans - so we have to act quickly before this happens.

“It is so incredibly sad that these birds had to go through this because of someone’s thoughtless act of dumping this fuel.”

The Environment Agency has been made aware of the incident.

The RSPCA would recommend anyone who sees pollution on water or land to call the Environment Agency 24-hour incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60. Concerns for a wild animal that has come into contact with oil or other contaminants should be reported to the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 1234 999.