Swan called Noel spends his 11th day stuck in concrete weir at Willen Lake

A solitary swan called Noel has spent the entire festive season stuck in a concrete overflow system at Willen Lake while the RSPCA struggle to rescue him.

Thursday, 28th December 2017, 10:45 am
Updated Thursday, 28th December 2017, 10:49 am

The charity has been feeding Noel every day for the past 11 days to ensure he does not starve, and has asked the Parks Trust lake owners for help.

But the trust says it is powerless, because the structure on Willen Lake north is owned by Anglian Water.

The young male is one of several swans to have found their way into the weir over the years.

A few months ago a complex rescue operation by firefighters ended tragically with the swan drowning.

“Once they are trapped in this area, it’s almost impossible and very dangerous to get them out,” city RSPCA officer Sam Harris.

“I even put on a life jacket and strapped myself to the fence in a bid to reach him. But he was too quick and too scared,” she added.

Last week Anglian Water officials agreed to help with a second rescue bid. But that too failed.

The RSPCA has been calling for an improved ramp system to be fitted to the weir so swans and other wild birds can get themselves out.

This week Anglian Water agreed to start fitting three new ramps as soon as possible. They will form a safe stepping system for swans and other wild birds to climb out

Meanwhile Noel is still trapped and reliant upon his daily feed of corn – but the RSPCA has urged the public not to intervene because the situation is too dangerous.

“We’re hoping that all the rain will mean the water level will rise and he can get himself out,” said Sam.

Rob Wood, the Parks Trust general manager of Willen Lake, said: “We are aware of the situation and have been working closely with the RSPCA to ensure the speedy and safe rescue of the swan. The Trust itself does not have the required equipment or knowledge to remove the swan, and is conscious that attempts to remove the swan without this may indeed cause unnecessary stress to the bird.

He added: “There is a stepped access system into the overflow area which generally ensures birds can leave of their own accord, however the icy weather has made this difficult for the swan. The structure itself is not under our ownership and so we cannot install ramps or any other equipment; this is the responsibility and decision of the water authority.”

The city’s RSPCA branch is self-funded and relies on donations. You can help them by texting 70070 and quote MKNB01 followed by the amount you wish to give.