Northern Ireland

Swans killed: Anger at driver who killed five cygnets in Fermanagh

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Media captionJulian Fowler reports from Fermanagh on the local community's anger at a driver who killed five swan cygnets

Residents in a County Fermanagh village have expressed anger at the "heartless act" of a driver who killed five cygnets.

The cygnets and their mother had recently become a familiar sight around Lisnarick, outside Irvinestown.

Pat Masterson, who lives in Lisnarick, photographed the swans shortly before they were killed on Tuesday evening.

"When I saw their mother walking them along the road, all in line, I stopped to take a picture," said Ms Masterson.

Image copyright Pat Masterson
Image caption The swans visited Pat Masterson's farm every day

"They've visited our farm every day over the last few weeks so I've photographed them before, but I thought that the way the wee cygnets were following their mother was just so lovely I had to stop and watch.

"I still can't believe that they were run over so soon after."

Enniskillen-based vet Kevin Leonard, who happened to be passing moments after the birds were killed, said he was shocked by what he saw.

"The five of them were just lying in a row behind the mother, who was injured as well.

Image copyright Pat Masterson
Image caption Paul Hoy pictured with the swans days before they were killed

"Four of them were dead and the fifth was so badly mangled I had to put it down with an injection.

"The sixth one only had minor injuries, so I gave it an anti-biotic cream and guided it into a nearby field alongside its mother.

"It was actually quite an upsetting sight. I can't believe whoever killed them just drove on."

Paul Hoy, who had also stopped when he saw the dead swans, assisted the vet in moving them to safety.

He said he was "disgusted" by what he saw.

"A girl who was there said she saw the car running them down and driving on.

Image copyright Pat Masterson
Image caption The mother of the swans and one of her six cygnets survived

"We're all wondering how this could have been an accident - it's a 30mph speed limit there and it wasn't dark so the swans were very visible.

"If you can't see six swans on the road, what are the chances you'll see a child?

Offence

As native wild birds, swans enjoy statutory protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is an offence to intentionally injure, take or kill a wild swan.

The act similarly protects the eggs and nests of swans.

It is an offence to take or possess the egg of a wild mute swan, or to damage or destroy the nest of a mute swan whilst in use or being built.

The RSPB said anyone who witnesses an offence against swans or other wildlife should contact their police Wildlife Liaison Officer through their local police station.

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