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Sick East Lancashire swan in lead poisoning scare
A SICK swan at an East Lancashire nature reserve is being treated for suspected lead poisoning.
Mother bird Pen and her partner Cob have been raising their six cygnets on Meadow Lake at Brockholes Nature Reserve , just off the M6 at Samlesbury, since they were born this spring.
But after showing signs of suspected lead poisoning, rangers thought it best to take her away for treatment, leaving Cob and the cygnets to fend for themselves.
Brockholes reserve manager Sophie Leadsom said the pair had been nesting at the site for the past five years and that this year had seemed no different to any other.
She said: “She has done well so far raising her family of six cygnets but now she needs some help.
“We, along with the RSPCA have been monitoring her over the last few weeks but she is still showing signs of lead poisoning.”
Pen has now been transferred to Stapeley Grange Wildlife Hospital, a dedicated wildlife hospital managed by the RSPCA near Nantwich, for specialist treatment.
Sophie said: “We hope they will be able to treat our swan, after which she will be brought back to us. Cob will take over looking after the family and keep their territory open on this lake to make sure no other swans move in.
“If we took him as well then another pair could move in which would mean there would be nowhere for our Pen to be released.
“Swans often mate for life so we are confident that when our Pen is returned to the lake both her and her Cob will carry on as if nothing ever happened.” This sort of poisoning comes from swans inadvertently picking up lead shot or lead from fishing lines.
Although the use of lead is now banned in Britain, lead can still be found in soils and sands around some lakes.