AN AILING swan which looked to be doomed has been returned to the wild thanks to Angus gamekeepers, a farmer and local vets who nursed it back to health.

The adult bird was in very poor condition when tenant farmer Scott Mather found it sitting in his field last week and contacted local estate gamekeepers at Glenogil in Angus. After the bird was caught, the gamekeepers decided to take it to Thrums Vets in Kirriemuir where it was examined and tested for signs of injury and disease.

Despite the swan’s weakness and prominent breastbone, X-rays did not show signs of fracture and the vets called SSPCA to ask whether it could be housed in a sanctuary in the hope it would recover strength.

Putting the bird to sleep was an option discussed by the charity due to its poor outlook, but vets in Kirriemuir decided to persevere in the hope the swan would revive. After feeding and watering it and making it comfortable in a horse stable overnight, staff were delighted to find the swan hissing at them the next day.

A decision was then taken to monitor the bird further with a view to re-releasing it onto the estate reservoir at Glenogil near Forfar. The release happened at the weekend. It is now hoped the swan will manage to feed itself in the wild and return to full health.

Vet Chris Aitken said: “Initially, the swan was in really poor condition and was very weak. We tested it for common conditions and the X rays showed no obvious signs of injury. When we contacted SSPCA one of the options, due to the bird’s outlook, was to put it to sleep.

“Fortunately, we have a horse stable at our practice and were able to give it a chance. We decided to persevere to see what kind of response we would get and when we fed and watered it, it started to look a bit brighter. When it was hissing the next morning after the gamekeepers brought it in, we thought that was a good sign and the aim was to get it to a position where it could be re-released, and to let it fend for itself.

“It seems to be doing ok. If, after a week, it is managing fine, then we would hope things were going to be alright.”

Head gamekeeper Danny Lawson, member of Angus Glens Moorland Group, is continuing to monitor the swan’s progress at the reservoir: “There have always been swans here but there has been a change this year in that there has been a high number of geese, which is unusual.

“It may be that there has been a scarcity of food, with the geese there as well, which might have had something to do with the swan’s condition. It seems to be doing ok just now so we’ll continue to keep an eye on its progress.”