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Cygnet alert at Albert Park

Friday 7 September, 2012

Parks Victoria is warning visitors to Albert Park to take care of spring cygnets which have just started hatching around the park.

Albert Park Ranger in Charge Alannah Gottschalk says dog owners in particular should ensure dogs are kept on leads to protect newly hatched cygnets.

“There are about 150 Black Swans at Albert Park, and from now until about December we expect about 100 cygnets to hatch in the park. There are 20-30 mating pairs of swans, and each swan has a clutch of between 2-6 cygnets,” Ms Gottschalk says.

Ms Gottschalk says unfortunately dog attacks are a major cause of swan and cygnet injury and deaths in Albert Park.

“To avoid death or injury to this year’s cygnets from dogs, we’re asking dog owners to be conscious of keeping their dogs on a lead at all times, especially when walking around the lake.”

“There are designated dog off lead areas at Albert Park which are well away from the lake.”

“Swans and cygnets often cross public roads within Albert Park, so visitors should be conscious of wildlife crossing roads, slow down and remember that vehicles must give way to any living thing,” Ms Gottschalk said.

For those who want to see the proud parents with their new offspring, Ms Gottschalk says it’s important to give them plenty of space.

“We’d encourage people who want to look at the new cygnets to maintain a good distance, and make sure the mother and father swan remain comfortable with how close you are. The parents are particularly protective of their young, and will often hiss or may even attempt to strike you with their wings if they think you might harm them or their young.”

 “It’s also very important not to feed the swans, as bread is not healthy for their diet and they should not become reliant on humans for food. Allow the swans to graze naturally.”

Ms Gottschalk says anglers should also take care as fishing hooks and lines also cause injuries to swans at Albert Park.

“Please keep fishing lines away from the swans, and make sure you take all fishing equipment home.”

Ms Gottschalk said that anyone who finds an injured or abandoned cygnet should stay with it and contact Parks Victoria staff at Albert Park who will take appropriate action.

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