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Much-loved Hampstead Heath inhabitant Xeno, 14, found dead

Xeno lost part of his bill in a dog attack. Picture: Ron Vester Xeno lost part of his bill in a dog attack. Picture: Ron Vester

Thursday, February 20, 2014
5:00 PM

He survived a vicious dog attack that left him permanently scarred with a bite-shaped chunk taken out of his beak.

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But now Xeno the swan, one of Hampstead Heath’s most distinctive inhabitants, has finally succumbed to the forces of nature.

The bird, who was believed to be one of the ponds’ oldest swans at 14, was recently found dead in the Highgate No 1 Pond, where he lived with his partner Xenie.

Heath swan watcher Ron Vester was left devastated by the news.

“The rescue officers said it’s likely he had a heart attack and died with age,” he said.

“It’s heartbreaking to lose a swan on the Heath that you have known for many years.”

Mr Vester said Xeno acquired his distinctive scarred bill after being bitten by a Staffordshire terrier some years ago.

The City of London Corporation, which manages the Heath, said there was no official cause of death, but that staff suspect “old age played a big part”.

Meg Game, the City’s ecologist at Hampstead Heath, said the swan population was “doing very well” in general.

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