A swan was rescued from a river in Essex at the weekend thanks to help from a passing lifeboat rescue team.
The RSPCA was called with concern on Sunday (29 January) after the water bird was spotted covered in mud and in a lethargic state, apparently stuck, by the river bank of the River Colne, Rowhedge in Colchester.
When Animal Collections Officer (ACO) Lucy Fackerell arrived she found she was unable to reach the female swan who was on the other side of the river in a spot difficult to access.
Then, by lucky coincidence, a boat containing four RNLI volunteers Mark Paramor, Alan Short, Tim Marshall and Laurie Emerson, were passing on a training exercise, and they were happy to stop and help
ACO Fackerell said: “I don’t know exactly what happened to this swan but she was clearly in trouble and completely exhausted. She could barely hold her head up, she was so tired.
“Passers-by said she had been like that since the morning before. She was so caked in mud she wasn’t a white swan anymore, and her feathers were so saturated with water that she could not swim.
“Perhaps she had previously got caught in fishing litter or similar, or there had been some kind of incident with another animal – but the result was that she would not have been able to survive had she not been rescued. The tides were rising there were concerns that she would get sucked down into the water and drown.
“I was amazed at the luck of these RNLI boatman coming by just at the right moment. I flagged them down and they were fantastic – very happy to help.
“It made all the difference that we could get a boat ride out to a spot where they could wade in and rescue her – she was in a difficult spot to access otherwise.”
There were no injuries on the swan, but she was taken straight to Wildlives Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Thorrington for care and treatment. She was checked by the vet, cleaned and put in a pen with a heat lamp and some food in order to recover.
ACO Fackerell added: “All being well we should be able to release her back to the wild where she belongs very soon.”