Threatened swans boosted by bumper breeding season

14:31 01 January 2013

Bewick

Bewick's swans

Archant

THREATENED Bewick’s swans are returning to WWT Welney from their Russian breeding grounds with the most young that ornithologists have seen in more than a decade.

Following a bumper breeding season, surveys of the swans’ UK wintering sites have found 17.6 per cent young among the flocks - compared to an average of about 10 per cent over the last 10 years.

Julia Newth, a Wildlife Health Research Officer at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, said: “We still need to find out what is driving down Bewick’s swan numbers and reverse this worrying decline, but this year’s good breeding season is very welcome news.

“This is their best breeding season since 2001 and the higher number of cygnets this year will hopefully boost their numbers.

“At the same time, WWT is tackling the things we know affect the swans: illegal shooting, flying collisions with pylons and wires and poisoning from spent lead gunshot.”

The factors behind this year’s breeding success are not fully understood, due to the remoteness of the swans’ breeding grounds in Arctic Russia. It is likely that weather, particularly a cold snap at the start of the breeding season, is significant and conservationists are concerned that climate change is partly behind the recent decline.

WWT provides safe roosting for Bewick’s swans at WWT Welney on the Ouse Washes, WWT Slimbridge and WWT Arundel in Sussex.

To donate to WWT’s swan appeal visit www.wwt.org.uk/swans

0 comments

Yesterday, 17:20
Map showing prevalence of smokers in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Wisbech is the capital of Cambridgeshire – when it comes to the numbers who smoke.

Yesterday, 17:18
Burrowmoor pupils and staff dressed as their favourite fictional characters.

Early years pupils at a Fenland primary school returned to school in their pyjamas for hot chocolate and story time as part of World Book Day celebrations.

Yesterday, 16:24
Daniel English (Xenex) introduces robot to Lorraine (Necton Ward)

Trail-blazing innovation is being trialled as part of a local hospital’s battle against germs.

Yesterday, 14:05
Disgraced cleric, the Rev Stephen Talbot

A former police chaplain who downloaded indecent images of children smashed his computer’s hard drive and dropped parts in bins in Soham and Ely on the night before police arrived to arrest him.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Cambs Times e-edition today E-edition