In a strange incident, a black swan was spotted in Wiltshire. It was a white swan that had turned black after an 'unknown substance' was dumped in a pond. The RSPCA suspects that it could be a printer toner. The mute swan, which was covered in a black powdery substance, was rescued from a pond in Westbury. It was taken to RSPCA West Hatch where staff were stunned to look at the creature.
Since the swan was rescued, a probe has been launched by inspectors to discover if it was a deliberate attack. They took the bird and carefully cleaned it in a large tub of frothing water. RSPCA Inspector Steph Daly told BBC that he was horrified as it looked like a black swan. The department remained baffled for a while trying to understand what the substance could be. Before being rescued on Saturday, the anguished bird was spotted desperately trying to get rid of the substance in a pond off Mane Way.
Inspector Daly spoke on behalf of the department mentioning that they were really concerned due to the state of the swan. They thought that it was oil but the substance was more powdery similar to photocopier ink toner. The charity said the task was "labour intensive". The staff was dedicated to the job of washing the substance off' but each wash was taking 30 minutes. The animal rescue centre staff said it would take substantial amounts of Fairy Liquid to clean the substance. West Hatch RSPCA have requested donations for dishwashing liquid because they get through quite a lot. As they could only use Fairy out of all the washing up liquids.
The charity is now worried for the bird’s mate that "managed to fly away". They are appealing to anyone who spots "any birds in a black substance" and to contact them. Daly updated that it was not all off after washing the swan a number of times. RSPCA Inspector Miranda Albinson added that they were grateful for everyone who made it possible. The bird could not be fed during the cleaning process and they were worried that it would become weak. They had to act fast before it happened.
The Environment Agency said the pollution was not likely to worsen as it was contained. The natural waterproofing in the plumage of the waterbirds reduces if such a substance is not removed. It is vital to treat as soon as possible as it leaves a risk of dying from hypothermia.