Appeal launched to save Suffolk swans

THEY are among the most loved and graceful of birds - but a flock of Suffolk swans may face starvation following the closure of a factory in the region.

THEY are among the most loved and graceful of birds - but a flock of Suffolk swans may face starvation following the closure of a factory in the region.

Pauls Malt Building on Quay Street in Ipswich will be shutting down at the end of the year, as the area undergoes a process of renovation.

Around 200 swans currently live near the site and are fed on a daily basis by workers who give them grain from the factory.

The closure will deprive the flock of the valuable food, prompting campaigners to launch an appeal to help safeguard their future.

Alex Smith, founding member of Mistley Swans in Need, said: “The closure will have very serious implications for the welfare of the swans as the men who work there always feed them grain.

“Obviously this won't be happening anymore come the end of the month, which could cause them serious difficulties,” she said.

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“If there is no one to feed them then they will starve, become ill and die. It is a huge problem and I am very concerned because the swans won't just go away. “An adult swan eats around four pounds of weed a day, so I'm sure you can appreciate the amount of food that is required to keep them healthy.

“There is very little natural food left for them in the river. Pollution, dredging and building on habitats that they might have used in the past has caused them to become dependent on this food source.”

Mrs Smith is appealing for volunteers to feed the swans, once in the morning and once at night, or help raise money so that they can continue to be cared for.

“What we would like is a group of around 16 committed people who are willing to spend one hour a week feeding the swans and checking that they are ok,” she said.

“If people don't think they can do this then they can always help in other ways, by baking bread or helping raise money to buy the feed.

“I am prepared to do all the organising I just think if people know what is expected then they might be more willing to come forward.

“Swans give pleasure to a lot of people and they really are beautiful creatures. “Anybody who thinks they can help in any way should get in touch. We would be very grateful.”

Ann Ayers, who has been helping to feed the swans, added: “I get down to the docks at 6.30 every morning and do it from Monday to Sunday. I enjoy doing it but the food is getting expensive.

“What we would like are volunteers to help feed the swans, bake bread or supply food for them.

“Anything that anybody can do would be a fantastic help. Any bread or food can be dropped off at the Waterfront Community Centre in Ipswich.”

For more information contact Mrs Smith on 01206 397251, visit Waterfront Community Centre, 32-34 Grimwade Street, Ipswich between 10am and 1pm Monday to Friday or phone the centre on 01473 226931.

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