In England, the iconic white, mute swans, which were once a source of food for citizens, are protected under royal decree. In fact, The Crown – currently Queen Elizabeth II – has owned all unmarked mute swans swimming in open waters since the 12th century.
This has ensured the survival of the species, with an annual swan census taken to monitor their numbers. Although the British monarch would have to travel some way to find the new resident swan pair at Crocworld Conservation Centre on the KZN South Coast, she would discover them living an equally protected and luxurious lifestyle as their royal counterparts. And, in fitting with their regal nature, the pair have been appropriately named Elizabeth and Philip.
“We’re very excited about the arrival of the mute swans at Crocworld, and can’t wait for visitors to see them swimming contentedly within the Flamingo Wetland area,” said Ryne Ferguson, Crocworld Conservation Centre Bird Curator. The almost three-year-old, immature pair recently arrived from Umgeni River Bird Park, and will be joining a diverse array of local and exotic bird species found at the centre, including Eurasian eagle owls, Harris hawk and jackal buzzards.
Visitors are welcome to view the new residents at Crocworld, where all relevant Covid-19 protocols are followed. Mask wearing, sanitising and family group social distancing regulations are in place, with the centre and on-site Fish Eagle Café open from 9am to 4.30pm. To find out more, visit www.crocworld.co.za or contact Crocworld Conservation Centre on 039 976 1103.