Swan mother and two cygnets killed in dog attack

Swan rescuers have been left "heartbroken" after three birds, a mother and two of her cygnets, were killed in a dog attack at a wildlife reserve.

Thames Valley Police said it received reports of an attack at around 13:20 BST on 18 May at the Nature Discovery Centre in Thatcham.

Officers are investigating the incident involving "a dog, believed to be a spaniel" and they are appealing for people with information to contact them.

The mother swan and one cygnet died in the attack and another cygnet was taken to Bray based charity, Swan Support, for treatment where it died of its injuries.

The charity was the first on the scene and deployed two canoes to try and find the injured birds.

A spokesperson for Swan Support called it "a very savage attack" on the swan and her cygnets.

They added: "Unfortunately dog attacks on swans and other water birds seems to becoming more frequent.

"This can be avoided by keeping dogs on a lead when there is a chance of wildlife being around."

Hazel Fell, visitor operations manager at the Nature Discovery Centre, where the attack took place, agreed that pet owners should have "close control of their dogs" and said: “This was a very upsetting event, and we want to thank the visitors that raised the alarm with our team.

"The wildlife here is incredibly important, and we must take all measures to protect the different species that call the lake home, including this year's ducklings, goslings and cygnets.

“Thank you to Swan Support who attended the incident and gave every effort to save the lives of our swans.”

Swan Support said the father swan is now looking after the remaining cygnets and the charity will monitor them closely.

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