'Together again': Swans reunited after dog attack in Lowestoft park

The swans reunited at the Fen Park pond in Kirkley, Lowestoft.

The swans reunited at the Fen Park pond in Kirkley, Lowestoft. - Credit: Friends of Fen Park

A swan that was badly injured in a savage dog attack has been reunited with its mate once more after being treated at a Norfolk wildlife centre.

The male mute swan was bitten at the base of his wing and left "bleeding quite badly" following the suspected dog attack on the morning of August 8 near the Fen Park pond in south Lowestoft.

But after being taken to the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre near King's Lynn to be assessed, the swan has made a full recovery following 10 weeks of treatment.

Having been residents at the popular pond in Kirkley for the past three years, there was joy from park regulars and the Friends of Fen Park, Lowestoft group this week as the swan was returned back to the park on October 19 and reunited with it's mate when she returned to the pond on Wednesday.

The swans reunited at the Fen Park pond in Kirkley, Lowestoft.

The swans reunited at the Fen Park pond in Kirkley, Lowestoft. - Credit: Friends of Fen Park

Now back "together again," the Friends group - which organises regular activities and fundraising days to regenerate the park in Southwell Road, Kirkley for the community - has urged people to "keep their dogs under close control and on leads" when near the swans in the future "to stop this happening again."

With the male swan believed to have been injured as he defended his nine cygnets and mate from a dog off a lead, a park user saw the swan bleeding before the Friends group was alerted.

The swans with their cygnets at the Fen Park pond in Kirkley, Lowestoft earlier this year.

The swans with their cygnets at the Fen Park pond in Kirkley, Lowestoft earlier this year. - Credit: Friends of Fen Park

The Marine and Wildlife Trust was informed before the RSPCA collected the swan and took him to East Winch for veterinary treatment.

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Shelley Goddard, the Friends of Fen Park secretary, said: "Unfortunately there were no witnesses to the incident.

"The male was attacked by an off lead dog, leaving behind his nine cygnets and 'wife'.

"Once the cygnets had fledged, the female swan would fly off and only come back in the mornings and evenings to search for the male swan. 

"On Tuesday the male swan was released back to Fen Park but at the time the female unfortunately wasn't around - but she flew back in the next morning and has stayed with her partner."

The lake at Fen Park, Kirkley in Lowestoft in March last year.

The lake at Fen Park, Kirkley in Lowestoft in March last year. - Credit: Mick Howes

Mrs Goddard added: "We are all so happy they are together again.

"The swans have been with us for three years now and have had three lots of cygnets together.

"It's been lovely each year watching the babies grow and many park users love our swans as they go to the park just to visit and feed them.

"We were all devastated to know that someone allowed their dog to attack the swan and not even report it to the relevant people to get him the help he needed."

With the group's committee liaising with the wildlife centre for regular condition checks that they relayed back to the park users via the Friends Of Fen Park Facebook page, there was joy this week as the swans were reunited.

Mrs Goddard said: "In those 10 weeks that he was being cared for, she never gave up hope that some day he would return back to the park."

The sign in Kirkley Fen Park.

The sign in Kirkley Fen Park. - Credit: Mick Howes

The Friends group thanked East Winch Wildlife Centre for "everything they have done to care for our swan" and next month regular park user, Jonny Hawes, will be embarking on a 100-mile bike ride to raise money for the Norfolk RSPCA wildlife centre.

It will be held in Lowestoft on November 7.

Mr Hawes said: "I'm raising money for the RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre that treated the male mute swan after it was injured at Fen Park.

"The swans - his 'mate' stayed at the park for the majority of the time, waiting for his return - mean a lot to people who use the park so I wanted to do something to raise money for those that helped him."

He will be aiming to complete the challenge on a "heavy old, sit up and beg 1968 Raleigh bike" on a route "up and down Lowestoft promenade - from the South Pier to Kensington Gardens" heading out around 50 times in each direction.

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