City Considers Ending Swan Program

Posted On Friday September 06, 2019

During the Committee of the Whole Meeting on July 15, Administration presented a report recommending Council to consider ending the Swan Program. The matter was postponed and returned to Council on August 20 with additional information.

The four swans have had their wings surgically clipped to prevent them from flying away and to make it possible to recapture them so that they can be housed indoors from October to May.

Concerns from Council during both the July 15 and August 20 meetings were voiced as to whether or not the swans were being kept as humanely as possible, even with City staff’s efforts to provide the utmost care for the birds. Malcolm Boyd, City Manager, said “There is a societal change taking place when it comes to animals in captivity. Zoos are changing and municipalities are doing things differently.” Therefore the City wants to ensure it is doing its due diligence in its care of the swans.

The City is currently seeking expert opinion on whether or not the current swan abode is suitable to be housing the birds for the winter months.

Aside from these concerns, there is also the major issue of public safety as there have been more reported incidents involving aggressive behaviour from the swans towards humans. Ryan Poole, General Manager of Community Services also noted that the swans pose a danger to themselves and others by moving onto roadways and other private and public property.

“Part of the Camrose Swan program involved trading aging swans with numerous waterfowl breeders in exchange for younger pairs,” said Poole. “However, it has become increasingly difficult as there are fewer breeders willing to take on these aging birds.” But, there is potential for a breeder the City has dealt with in the past to take these swans before the winter.

While the swans are indeed iconic, the city’s highest priorities are public safety and for the humane treatment of the birds. The conversation will continue at the next Regular Council Meeting on September 16.