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Feeding swans bread IS ok says Swan Sanctuary

Following numerous press stories about banning feeding bread to swans the latest advice contradicts that message saying there is no harm doing this and is in-fact starving them if not done.

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With so many ponds and lakes across Crawley there is nothing more regal than seeing plenty of swans majestically cruising back and forth, particularly if they are with their young.

For years people have gone, sometimes with family, to feed them and for years it has always been bread.

Recently though there have been a lot of stories talking about how bad bread is for them and how people should avoid it as it can cause a whole list of troubles.

But now it seems all of that is actually wrong, and the fact that so many people heeded the words about banning feeding them bread has meant many are actually starving which in turn is making them take drastic action such as cross main roads to find food.

Now a statement from The Queen’s Swan Marker, David Barber MVO which has been endorsed by Professor Christopher Perrins of Oxford University has come out and confirms what The Swan Sanctuary has always said.

The statement reads:

“There has been a great deal of press coverage in recent months regarding the ‘Ban the Bread’ campaign which is confusing many members of the public who like to feed swans.

Supporters of the campaign claim that bread should not be fed to swans on the grounds that it is bad for them.

This is not correct.

Swans have been fed bread for many hundreds of years without causing any ill effects. While bread may not be the best dietary option for swans compared to their natural food such as river weed, it has become a very important source of energy for them, supplementing their natural diet and helping them to survive the cold winter months when vegetation is very scarce.

There is no good reason not to feed bread to swans, provided it is not mouldy. Most households have surplus bread and children have always enjoyed feeding swans with their parents.

The ‘Ban the Bread’ campaign is already having a deleterious impact upon the swan population; I am receiving reports of underweight cygnets and adult birds, and a number of swans from large flocks have begun to wander into roads in search of food.

This poses the further risk of swans being hit by vehicles. Malnutrition also increases their vulnerability to fatal diseases like avian-flu which has caused the deaths of many mute swans and other waterfowl in the past.

Furthermore, there have been statements made in the media claiming that feeding bread causes angel-wing in swans. Angel-wing is a condition where a cygnet develops a deformed wing.

Professor Christopher Perrins, LVO, FRS of the Department of Zoology at Oxford University stated, ‘There is no evidence of a connection between feeding bread and angel-wing; at least some cygnets develop this condition without ever having seen any bread’.

I therefore encourage members of the public to continue feeding swans to help improve their chances of survival, especially through the winter.”

The Swan Sanctuary has also published a couple of explanatory images that also establish what is right and wrong:

You can find out more information and how to support The Swan Sanctuary by clicking here.

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Crawley council promises alternative festive fun as Tilgate Park’s Magical Christmas is cancelled

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With its yearly festive market, free meet and greets with Santa, funfair rides and local entertainment, the Magical Christmas event at Tilgat Park has been exactly that for years – ‘Magical’.

But the council has now had to make the hard decision to cancel it, citing the health and safety of visitors and staff is their priority as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

The say:

“This year’s event, with social distancing guidelines in place, would have meant restricting entry by ticketing and as a result would not have been able to host the number of families who normally come without tickets, dampening the magical atmosphere of the event.”

Cabinet member for Wellbeing, Councillor Chris Mullins, said:

“We are deeply disappointed to cancel this year’s event. However the safety of our visitors is paramount and most of all, we wouldn’t have been able to offer the special Christmas experience that the public have come to expect.”

But all is not lost as the council say they are looking into alternative festive events at Tilgate and in the town centre.

It is hoped the council will announce the new events soon.

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