Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Mr ASBO Strikes Again

Last year, a ferocious swan (nicknamed Mr ASBO by Emma when she used to blog at nb Kestrel) terrified rowers and kayakers on the river by Ditton Corner. And this year he’s back, with a vengeance!

He and his mate are nesting in a little cut at the apex of a right-angled corner, and is attacking all varieties of river craft, from vulnerable single sculls and kayaks to rowing VIIIs and motor boats. Both James and I have coxed boats around that corner which have had him going after the rowers’ blades. In an VIII, however, it is fairly safe (unless of course he starts flying directly at the rowers or cox!) but for those out in sculls or kayaks, a swan attack is more serious. Several lone rowers have fallen in as a result.

The Cam Conservancy, galvanised into action by the numerous reports they have had from river users, have started trying to do something about it. They have been in contact with Her Majesty’s Warden of the Swans, no less, as the Queen has a right to ownership of any swan in this country. If she declines (which is likely, apparently) they then have to go the organisation Natural England to get a licence to proceed. As for what to do to him, the most humane suggestion seems to be removing him and his family to a quieter stretch of river where there will be fewer river users to attack. Otherwise, they might clip a wing to throw him off balance when he tries to attack. I’m not in favour of deliberately mutilating him though. One blogger for the Telegraph advocates leaving him alone and not rowing on that stretch of the river, which is a frankly ludicrous suggestion, given that his nest is on one of the busiest and most popular stretches of water for rowing in the area.

The Cambridge News was the first to report the story of course (with one of its news editors being an avid Chesterton rower), but the story has also been picked up nationally by the Telegraph, the Express, the BBC and the Mail!

The student run spoof tabloid, The Tab, has an excellent article entitled The Return of The Killer Swan with footage!

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