‘Don’t panic, they’ve probably not been stolen’ is the message from a rescue centre founder about the Queenborough swans.
In the last month, reports have been received by wildlife rescue organisations about the disappearance of the flock.
Nine or 10 birds normally lived on the water by Stanley Avenue and were a common sight for residents in the area, often spotted behind Morrisons in Neats Court.
But recently, they’ve not been seen by the waterside, leading residents to speculate that they’d been stolen.
A small red van had been sighted around the area so rumours that the birds might have met a sad fate began.
Appeals for information were put on Facebook by multiple rescue organisations and the wildlife police were informed.
However, Ray Allibone, founder of Swampys Wildlife Rescue, doesn’t think the rumours are true.
He said: “No one has actually seen them be taken by the van and swans do move on.
“I can’t find any real evidence that they’ve been stolen.”
Mr Allibone explained that when swans get to a certain age, they fly the nest from their parents, with the males leaving first.
Residents reported two leaving earlier than the rest, but the birds do fly at night so no one would have necessarily seen them leave.
There is still one parent alive at the lake, but the other has been found dead nearby, due to what appears to be natural causes.
There is hope that other swans may be back - “They are quite happy to mate up again with another swan.”