Mr Asbo the swan moved from River Cam for safety of rowers
- 3 May 2012
- From the section Cambridgeshire
An aggressive swan nicknamed Mr Asbo has finally been moved from a Cambridge river after his aggressive behaviour had begun to escalate.
In the latest of many reported attacks on River Cam rowers, the swan mounted a scull and capsized the boat.
Attempts to move him and his mate earlier this year were halted amid concerns they may have started nesting.
However, river managers discovered this had not happened and the pair have been moved to a sanctuary out of the county.
The swan had become infamous for attacking not just rowers but larger vessels on stretches of the River Cam near his nest site, at Fen Ditton.
Rowers had been calling for his removal since the attacks began in 2009.
'Out of control'
In the past, volunteers had safely penned in Mr Asbo, his mate and their cygnets to protect them, as well as rowers, during summer races on the Cam.
Attempts had also been made to move him further up river, away from traffic, however he always found his way back.
Although the RSPCA said his territorial behaviour was natural, the Conservators of the River Cam - the organisation that manages the river - agreed the swan's behaviour was getting "out of control" and he should be moved.
A licence was granted by Natural England allowing them to relocate him to a suitable site outside the county.
However, attempts to move him and his mate in mid-April were thwarted when inspectors were unable to determine whether or not the pair had begun to nest.
Once swans are nesting, it is illegal to move them.
Dr Philippa Noon, of the conservators, said that during the latter half of the month, she had received an increase in complaints about attacks by Mr Asbo.
"His behaviour had definitely worsened, including capsizing a scull," she said.
"We noticed he was going for bigger boats as well. He was actually flying straight towards our outboard motors, feet first, and we were becoming very concerned he could cut his legs off."
A further inspection of the swans' usual nesting site showed the pair had not yet started to sit on the nest.
Volunteers have now moved them to a sanctuary about 60 miles (95km) away.
"We are sad to see him go, because he had become a bit of a river character," Mrs Noon said.
"Unfortunately, once that sort of behaviour is embedded, it isn't going to go away.
"Since he left we've noticed more pairs of swans going back to his old stretch of the river, and they look like they may start to nest there.
"The cycle goes on."
A spokesman for Natural England confirmed Mr Asbo and his mate had been safely removed to a suitable receptor site.