People are being warned not to try and rescue swans they fear may be stuck in ice as they could put themselves and the birds at risk.
During the current cold snap the Scottish SPCA has received more than 70 calls from members of the public about swans they mistakenly think are stuck in the ice on frozen lochs or ponds.
Some people have tried to rescue the birds themselves despite the charity telling them that in the vast majority of cases the creatures are able to free themselves as they are incredibly powerful.
In some cases the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has been called out to rescue swans.
On Saturday afternoon, firefighters from Polmadie and Knightswood used specialist equipment to reach a swan trapped in ice at Hogganfield Loch in Glasgow and brought it back to land before handing it to the Scottish SPCA.
The charity warned people not to attempt rescues themselves.
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent, Mike Flynn, said: “We understand that the public have good intentions when it comes to these birds and are concerned they are stuck or in distress.
“In reality, swans are incredibly powerful birds and more than capable of breaking any ice that forms around them. Occasionally, if temperatures are unusually low and the water is very still, like that found in a pond, they may become stuck.
“However, this is very rare and normally the birds will simply break the ice themselves and fly off when they are ready to.
“We would ask that callers follow the advice given by our helpline operators and animal rescue officers when it comes to this issue, and don’t attempt to take matters into their own hands.
“We really must urge the public not to attempt to rescue any swans themselves, either by throwing items at the ice around the bird or venturing on to the ice themselves. This will cause the swan a massive amount of stress and you could injure the bird if you are throwing any kind of projectile to break the ice.
“Worse still, if you venture on to the ice yourself you could be putting your life in danger. Swans are perfectly adapted to survive in extremely cold water – humans are not.”
The charity advised anyone concerned about a bird during icy weather to monitor it from a distance and if it is there for a number of hours without moving, or appears sick or injured in any way, to call the Scottish SPCA helpline.
Mr Flynn said: “If there is a real concern we will contact the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for assistance.
“We work very closely with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and our trained animal rescue officers are able to assess the severity of each situation and if we need any support from other agencies.”
Anyone who comes across an animal in distress can call the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.
The SFRS has warned people to keep off the ice, tweeting: “It may be tempting to go skating or to walk out onto frozen water, but you may be putting yourself and others at risk.
“Stay clear of waterways and keep your pet on a lead. Don’t let children play on the ice.”
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