Sunday 17 December 2017

Onlookers 'horrified' as man pulls swan out of the water by neck at Phoenix Park

The image of the man pulling the swan by the neck out of the water. Photo: Brenda Malloy Twitter
The image of the man pulling the swan by the neck out of the water. Photo: Brenda Malloy Twitter
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Onlookers were left horrified after a man attacked a swan and pulled it out of the water by its neck at Phoenix Park.

Brenda Malloy told RTE's Liveline that she witnessed the man assaulting the swan and grabbing it by its neck.

"The man was in an altercation with a swan. He was waving his arms in the air and the swan was pecking at him. His son was right next to him in a buggy," Ms Malloy told Joe Duffy.

Ms Malloy said she told the man to stop, but he didn't seem to hear her.

"He was pulling pretty hard. At first I said 'don't do that' but he didn't hear me. So I pulled out my camera and took the photographs.

"It's not nice for the son to see and it was dangerous.

"The swan was very aggressive. I think people should understand we're lucky to have Phoenix Park and people should be respectful of the wildlife and the park."

Niall Hatcher from BirdWatch Ireland told Liveline that the image was "very disturbing".

"It looks like the man is trying to pull the swan out of the water. It's very unsetlling. Swans can be quite aggressive and that's understandable if they're trying to defend their eggs or chicks. It's worrying the treatment of the animal. It's illegal to injure a wild animal or interfere with it.

"It's nesting season so they're incubating their eggs and unfortunately we had quite a few reports of people harassing swans and killing them. They are quite vulnerable. They hold their ground and can knock someone to the ground, especially a young child."

Mr Hatch said that people can be prosecuted under the Wildlife Act of 1976 for assaulting wildlife.

A caller named John told Joe Duffy that he had an aggressive experience with swans at Citywest.

"The swans came over slowly and started to attack the kids. They're very aggressive for no reason. I couldn't believe the strength. Maybe that man was afraid for his kids."

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