Much-loved Heath swan killed in savage dog attack

I have been taking photos of wildlife on Hampstead Heath for the past four years, including pictures of many attacks by dogs on the swans, some of which were published by you. On Sunday August 17 the male swan on Heath Pond number one was savaged and die

I have been taking photos of wildlife on Hampstead Heath for the past four years, including pictures of many attacks by dogs on the swans, some of which were published by you.

On Sunday August 17 the male swan on Heath Pond number one was savaged and died. He had been the proud father of eight cygnets which I photographed earlier this year (see left) five of which remain, plus his mate. The male had injuries to his throat and was found by Heath rangers about 6pm that same Sunday. It was clearly the victim of a dog attack.

I decided to observe the behaviour of the female and a few days later saw her paddle close to where the incident occurred. She was making little noises in her throat, like crying. I have heard this before from a swan who lost a mate last summer.

While watching families feed the swans I overheard two little girls talking about the swans. One, perhaps seven years old, said to the other who was much younger: ''that one is the prince and the other one is the princess.''


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I wonder what the dog owners who allowed their pets to kill think about this... perhaps nothing. There are two surviving pairs of swans left where a year ago, there were five pairs, plus these surviving cygnets.

Ron Vester

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Belsize Park, NW3

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