Feisty swan's future on Maitai River up for debate
Residents views are sought on the future of Nelson swan Aragorn.What do you think?
The public is being called on to help decide the future of Aragorn, the feisty swan living on Nelson's Maitai River.
The white male swan, known for his aggressive behaviour, was bitten by a dog on Tuesday, requiring stitches underneath his left wing. In 2010, the swan required treatment from a vet after he was targeted by children throwing rocks.
Aragorn is recuperating at Natureland zoo, but is due to be released back to the Maitai River next week by the SPCA.
However, animal welfare leaders are calling on the community to help decide whether the swan should be relocated to a private home or whether dog restrictions are required if the bird is returned to the river.
Department of Conservation area manager Martin Rodd, of Motueka, and SPCA inspector Craig Crowley are seeking residents' views on Aragorn's future.
They said they were unsure what residents wanted, because there was a strong sense of community ownership of the swan, which had adopted the river as his home several years ago.
But others were against Aragorn because of his aggressive behaviour towards dogs and people, especially in spring and summer, during the breeding season.
"It's becoming questionable as to whether the Maitai River is the most suitable place for the swan," Mr Rodd said.
"Last year, after the swan attacked a kayaker, the majority of people believed that the bird was part of the Maitai and really wanted it to stay. What's different this time is the swan's coming off second best."
Mr Rodd asked whether people wanted Aragorn to stay in the Maitai, and if they were prepared for restrictions to protect the bird. He suggested that the area could be included in the Nelson City Council's dog bylaw preventing dogs from running off-leash.
Mr Crowley said there were also two offers from residents in the Nelson region for Aragorn to stay at their properties, which had large sections with a pool.
"The SPCA's point of view is that the animal's welfare is paramount, and there's been two instances recently where the swan has been attacked."
This week an informal Nelson Mail online poll showed 83.6 per cent of readers supported the swan's return to the Maitai River because that was its home, while 16.4 per cent of readers said the area was too dangerous. Have your say at nelsonmail.co.nz.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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