Appeal after swan attacked four times on Hampstead Heath
PUBLISHED: 11:14 23 August 2016 | UPDATED: 11:14 23 August 2016
Photographer Ron Vester captures the dramatic moment when a female swan fights off a dog on Hampstead No 2 pond and amazingly escapes with no physical injuries
Heath rangers have put emergency fencing around Hampstead No 2 Pond after a female swan was attacked four times by dogs last week.
On each occasion last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the swan – which has five cygnets – managed to fight off the dogs and was not physically injured.
Ron Vester, who took this picture of one of the attacks on Wednesday, said: “She is not physically injured but will be very shaken. Swans will not back down to dogs and by some miracle she ran him off. In water swans do have a slight advantage against a dog, but on land it is hopeless.”
After witnessing the attack, Mr Vester approached the dog’s owner and told her to put him on a lead. “She was not very polite until I told her I would take her photo for a report to the police. Then she made off quickly,” he said.
Mr Vester and Heath and Hampstead Society member Lynda Cook held an urgent meeting with Heath constabulary manager Richard Gentry after reports of three more attacks on the swan.
Mr Gentry confirmed the City of London Corporation put up emergency fencing in the north-west corner of the pond to protect the swans on Friday.
Mr Vester said that the swans had been lured out of their usual home on Hampstead No 1 Pond by dog walkers feeding them.
Mr Vester said: “The spot they are now in is where dogs swim and it is not safe for the swans.”
He has been trying to lure them back into No 1 Pond with the help of Bam Nuttall, the contractor working on the Ponds Dams project.
Mr Gentry said: “We are calling on the Heath’s dog walkers to keep their pets under control near swans and other wildlife. Legally dog owners should have proper control of their dogs on the Heath.
“If you see a wildlife crime taking place on the Heath, call the police on 999 and the Heath Constabulary on 020 8340 5260”