Swan taken to wildlife rescue center after coming into contact with pollutant at River Esk

ANIMAL protection officers continue to monitor the situation after concerns were raised over swans and geese affected by ‘a major pollution incident’ on the River Esk in Musselburgh, with one swan taken to a rescue center wildlife for treatment.

Rosie McGlynn, a regular visitor to the swans in Musselburgh, feared the spill, believed to be diesel or petrol, could lead to engorgement of the swans’ feathers.

She alerted the Scottish SPCA and SEPA to their fate.

She visited their main gathering point at the pedestrian bridge, adding that last Friday “there was a very strong smell of diesel/petrol and the river Esk was covered in a pollutant”.

She added: “The swans were swimming through this and it was coating their feathers. I was extremely concerned that the spill could cause the swans’ feathers to become engorged.

“The swans headed out to sea and started cleaning their feathers.”

She visited the site again the next day, saying, “The pollution was still very much there. The swans looked exhausted and a number of them were sleeping which is unusual for this time of year. Their feathers were very waterlogged.

“I came back in the late afternoon and the swans looked very tired again. It’s very dangerous for swans to have waterlogged feathers in winter because the feathers can freeze.”

John Toule, a Scottish SPCA inspector, said: “We attended the River Esk in Musselburgh after reporting swans and geese covered in oil to our helpline.

“Upon arrival we did not find any of the oil smeared birds, but several swans had what looked like contamination along their necks.

“A swan has been raised and taken to our National Wildlife Rescue Center to receive the care it needs.

“All other birds were cleaning up and appearing alert. We continue to monitor the situation closely and any birds showing signs of deterioration will be taken to our wildlife hospital.

“We advise members of the public not to approach the birds.

“If you think an animal is injured or in distress, please call our helpline on 03000 999 999.”

East Lothian Council said a manhole leading to a waterway has been identified as the source of the pollution.

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