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Police called to deal with hungry swans repeatedly showing up at pub for food

Thursday, January 13th 2022, 1:29 pm - Officials appealed to the public to stop feeding the swans.

Police were called in last month after a pair of hungry swans kept returning to the Auld Brig Weatherspoons pub in Irvine, Scotland for food, STV reports.

Escorting the swans back to the water didn't work - once relocated, they returned to the pub. Officials then tried to discourage the waterfowl by moving them further away in the harbour, but that didn't dissuade the animals either.

Speaking with the Daily Record, Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) inspector Katie McIntyre said it's believed the swans were returning to the area because people were giving them food, prompting the agency to issue a 'do not feed' plea to the public.

Scottish SPCA via Scottish SPCA: Hungry swans (Credit: Scottish SPCA via Scottish SPCA)

While both swans appeared to be in good health, the area surrounding the pub presents several areas that could put them at risk, including busy roadways.

“Our hope would be that if people stop feeding them they will eventually move on and return to their natural habitat," McIntyre said last month.

“If people do wish to feed the swans we’d ask that they do so down at the riverbank or while they’re on the water to encourage them to stay in these areas."

Custom - swans (Credit: Percival Ian Mucio/Pexels. Swans: kslynskyy/Getty Images Pro.)*

THE DANGERS OF FEEDING WILDLIFE

Experts say there are a few issues with feeding wildlife.

For starters, some people aren't mindful and end up overfeeding wild animals, opening up the potential for health complications.

Second, feeding wildlife can change an animal's behaviour, Nathalie Karvonen, executive director with the Toronto Wildlife Centre, told The Weather Network in March 2020, making them bolder - not unlike the pub-loving swans.

"A berry bush, it's not going to associate that with you, but if you offer a wild animal a hotdog bun and say, 'here little guy,' you're training it," she said.

And if you do decide to feed a wild animal, remember to practice social distancing.

"Mammals can nip, and they spread diseases, so it's definitely not a good idea to feed mammals," Karvonen advised.

"Put down some seed, let them come take it, but don't offer it from your hand."

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