Baby swan rescued by RSPCA after being trapped in Fairlop Waters weir for two weeks

PUBLISHED: 17:24 16 October 2015 | UPDATED: 17:32 16 October 2015

A group of cygnets. Picture: RSPCA

A group of cygnets. Picture: RSPCA


The RSPCA has rescued a cygnet when it became trapped in the underground weir at a Hainault country park after being washed down by the current.

Specially-trained RSPCA officers carried out the water rescue at Fairlop Waters, Hainault, on Wednesday.

Animal welfare officer Tom Goldsmith donned a dry suit and climbed through a manhole to reach the trapped bird while Inspector Rosie Russon assisted from dry land.

Inspector Russon said: “Animal welfare officer Goldsmith did a fantastic job rescuing the bird. He had to be secured with a rope because had he slipped and fell into the lower sections, he would have been swept along the pipes, which we’re told run for over three miles.”

It is suspected that the young swan could possibly have been stuck in the weir for almost two weeks, as staff at the country park’s outdoor activity centre received a previous report of a swan needing help, but when they searched the lake they couldn’t see him.

Inspector Russon added: “He was very thin and lethargic as he wouldn’t have had anything much to eat for some time.

“It’s possible he has been managing to grab some bits of food that were washed down from people feeding the ducks which has kept him alive.

“We rely on the public to be our eyes and ears and this story proves that people really do care about wildlife. “

The cygnet is now being cared for at South Essex Wildlife Hospital, which has around 30 other cygnets in their care at the moment.

“He is still very weak but is eating well and showing signs of improvement which is great news. Their team will release him back into the wild when he is strong enough.

“We urge people to think carefully about where they choose to feed birds. Food being swept away by a strong current can still tempt wildlife and lead them to danger, as we’ve seen in this case.”

For more information on what to do if you find an injured wild animal, visit

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