Fence repair fiasco sees baby swans die
SCORES of protected baby swans have needlessly died because a bird-brained waterway authority failed to properly repair a fence for almost THREE years.
Horrified householders have watched dozens of cygnets and ducklings die at Bowling Harbour because of shoddy safety netting designed to PREVENT the baby birds from being sucked into the Clyde.
Last week alone, at least 11 ducklings were sucked over the edge.
Anxious locals say all last year's cygnets succumbed to the same fate and are fearful history will repeat itself with the birds perennially nesting close-by.
Despite repeatedly calling on Scottish Canals - which is responsible for the waterway - to fix the problem, the fed-up residents say their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
One angry 40-year-old Old Kilpatrick woman, who asked not to be named, has been battling with the authority since last July.
She told the Reporter: "Every year they go over the edge and the community is devastated at the loss of wildlife.
"There's a nest up on the bank and they all go up there every year, but they're just going under the netting because they're so small and the netting isn't nailed down properly.
"Had it been covered properly this wouldn't have happened.
"Last year I saw seven go over the edge and three broke their necks.
"Scottish Canals aren't doing much about it. I told them about it and they said they would put the netting up but I went down the next day and it wasn't done."
A Scottish Canals spokeswoman said they were aware of the issue and promised to take steps to ensure it was fixed.
She added: "Scottish Canals is committed to encouraging and supporting wildlife across the waterways.
We will be changing the netting over the lock gates at the first inland lock on the Forth and Clyde Canal at Bowling to a sturdier material in the next couple of days."
Scottish SPCA Senior Inspector Nicki Scott said: "We have performed rescues at Bowling Harbour when ducklings and cygnets have become separated from their parents.
"Anyone who discovers a distressed bird should call us on 03000 999 999."
Swans have been a protected species since the Crown claimed ownership of the birds throughout the country in the 12th century.
To this day they retain the ownership rights of all unmarked swans in open water.
This article appeared in Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter 29 May 12
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