White swan is dyed BLACK by 'unknown substance'

White swan is dyed BLACK by ‘unknown substance’ as ‘horrified’ RSPCA inspectors probe if printer toner was dumped in pond

  • A mute swan was rescued from a pond in Westbury, Wiltshire, on Saturday
  • The bird was covered in a black powdery substance and is still not clean
  • RSPCA West Hatch staff said it would take ‘quite a lot of Fairy Liquid’ to clean it
  • The bird was spotted trying to preen the black substance off in a pond Friday 

A white swan has been dyed black by an ‘unknown substance’ thought to be printer toner, the RSPCA has revealed.

The mute swan was rescued from the water in Westbury, Wiltshire, and inspectors have since launched a probe to find out whether it was a deliberate attack.

The swan, which was covered in a black powdery substance, was taken to RSPCA West Hatch where staff said it will take ‘quite a lot of Fairy Liquid to get it clean’.

RSPCA Inspector Steph Daly said: ‘I was horrified because it looked like a black swan.

‘We’re still really baffled as to what this substance is.’

The distressed bird was spotted trying to clean the substance off in a pond off Mane Way on Friday before being rescued on Saturday.

The mute swan was rescued from the water in Westbury, Wiltshire, and inspectors have since launched a probe to find out whether it was a deliberate attack

The swan, which was covered in a black powdery substance, was taken to RSPCA West Hatch where staff said it will take ‘quite a lot of Fairy Liquid to get it clean’

Insp Daly said: ‘We were really concerned because of the state of it. We assumed it was oil but it’s more powdery like photocopier ink toner.’

The charity said staff were ‘busy with the job of washing the substance off’ but with each wash taking 30 minutes, it was ‘labour intensive’.

‘He’s been washed a number of times but it’s not all off yet,’ Insp Daly added.

‘Out of all the washing up liquids, it’s only Fairy they use and they’ve put a shout out for donations because they get through quite a lot.’

The distressed bird was spotted trying to clean the substance off in a pond off Mane Way on Friday before being rescued on Saturday

An RSPCA inspector is pictured with the swan as it was rescued from the pond on Saturday

The Environment Agency said the ‘pollution was contained and not likely to worsen’. ‘It sounds like there was a deliberate act of someone disposing of something they shouldn’t have done,’ said Ian Withers, from the agency

RSPCA Inspector Miranda Albinson added: ‘A rescue operation was put in place to save the swan and we’re grateful for everyone who made it possible.

‘The bird was preening to try and clean off the substance but while they are doing this they are not feeding and they will become weak so we have to act fast before this happens.

‘If a substance like this is not removed from waterbirds it reduces the natural waterproofing in their plumage, leaving them at risk of dying from hypothermia – so it is vital that they are treated as soon as possible.’

RSPCA Inspector Miranda Albinson added: ‘A rescue operation was put in place to save the swan and we’re grateful for everyone who made it possible’

RSPCA Inspector Steph Daly said: ‘I was horrified because it looked like a black swan. ‘We’re still really baffled as to what this substance is’

The swan has been cleaned numerous times but the black substance clings to its feathers

The Environment Agency said the ‘pollution was contained and not likely to worsen’.

‘It sounds like there was a deliberate act of someone disposing of something they shouldn’t have done,’ said Ian Withers, from the agency, suggesting the swan was not attacked with the substance.

‘We will follow up and try and find the perpetrators.’

Persimmon Homes Wessex, which owns the land, said it will ‘work closely with the local council to help find a resolution’.

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