Swans fly free as over 100 cygnets are released from the care of animal welfare group FAWNA

Craig DuncanSouth Western Times
FAWNA volunteers Sue and Paul McGann have helped more than 100 swans since July.
Camera IconFAWNA volunteers Sue and Paul McGann have helped more than 100 swans since July. Credit: Craig Duncan

A bevy of black swans have flown to freedom in the Leschenault estuary after spending months in the care of FAWNA volunteers.

The not-for-profit collected cygnets from the Broadwater nature reserve and the Vasse-Wonnerup wetlands last year, after dozens of cygnets were abandoned by their parents.

FAWNA volunteer Sue McGann said the group has taken 126 cygnets into care since last July.

“The wetlands are drying early, and the swans are breeding later in the season, so the cygnets can’t fly and they get left behind,” she said.

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FAWNA saves cygnets from these wetlands each year, however this year has been particularly challenging.

“The wetlands took three months longer than normal to fill to a capacity where there was enough food for the swans to breed,” Ms McGann said.

“These cygnets were three months behind.”

Hatching swans cannot survive on the Leschenault estuary, since they can’t find appropriate food sources or fresh water.

They need time to grow and develop in the wetlands, Ms McGann said.

“In nature, they will grow in the wetlands and get all their food, before flying to Australind,” she said.

“But to survive in Australind they need to be fully grown so their necks are long enough to reach the food in the estuary.”

The volunteers released 22 swans into the estuary on Tuesday.

Watching the birds enjoy their first swim and embark of their first flight was incredibly rewarding Ms McGann said.

The group still has 75 cygnets ready to be released and are hoping to get through them all in the coming weeks.

However, feeding over 120 growing swans isn’t cheap Ms McGann said, costing more than $350 a day.

“At the moment we’re lucky, lots of businesses and community members donate enough to keep them going,” she said.

For more information or to donate to FAWNA, visit its website fawna.com.au or Facebook page.

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