Zac mourns for his mate
WITH a forlorn honk and a drooped head, a black swan grieves for his mate.Zac, an Australian black swan, had chosen the partner he should have shared his life with but she died suddenly last week leaving his lake a rather empty place.
By Anthony Carroll.
WITH a forlorn honk and a drooped head, a black swan grieves for his mate.
Zac, an Australian black swan, had chosen the partner he should have shared his life with but she died suddenly last week leaving his lake a rather empty place.
And Zac has not only been left to mourn Anne – he has four baby cygnets to rear on his own.
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However, the swan, a permanent fixture on the Suffolk Pet Crematorium's lake of remembrance at Great Saxham, near Bury St Edmunds, is no stranger to tragedy.
His previous mate was nabbed by a fox and although clearly saddened by the latest blow, he is getting on with the job in hand, says crematorium owner William Phizacklea.
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Black swans mate for life and the couple could have expected to live for another 15 years together, raising a brood of four or five cygnets every year.
Ten days ago the four cygnets hatched and Zac and Anne had taken their share of looking after them and keeping them warm.
But disaster struck and now Zac, aged five, has to raise his brood alone for the next 20 weeks before they are found new homes.
Mr Phizacklea said the death of Anne, believed to be from natural causes after a post mortem ruled out foul play, must have come as a double blow to Zac coming after the late night disappearance of his previous mate.
However, plans are already afoot to find Zac a new mate. Mr Phizacklea, 45, said: “I will get him a new wife for £90, hopefully it will cheer Zac up.
“Although he hasn't been as upset as I thought he would be - perhaps he is too busy looking after his children. I like to think of him as a 90s swan, accepting responsibilities and raising kids himself.”
The cygnets are well looked after by Zac, who takes them to an island every night so that predators cannot get close and makes sure they are never far from his side. He keeps them warm at night in the deep plumage on his back.
Zac also looked out for his mate and even knocked one of Mr Phizacklea's dogs into the lake after it had playfully teased her.
The swans and the idyllic surroundings they live in provide a comforting and reflective background for people grieving for their pets.
The crematorium usually deals with 20 cats and dogs a week and handles three horses a week. Urns or the chance to scatter pets' ashes are offered by the crematorium.
Anyone wishing to cremate their pet can call the crematorium on 01284 810981.