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A national scoping study of the impact of swans, primarily mute swans, on agricultural and fishing interests - VC0108

Claims relating to environmental damage caused by swans have increased in recent years, and earlier declines in numbers of Mute Swans, which were attributed to lead poisoning, have now been reversed. Therefore, this study aims to investigate alleged damage caused to farming and fishing interests by Mute Swans and to evaluate currently available non-lethal management techniques. In Phase 1 of the research, a scoping study will be conducted of possible swan damage in and around the Rivers Itchen, Test, Kennet and Lower Avon. A short series of counts will be made at different times of the year (e.g. breeding season, moult, winter) and existing data on the temporal and spatial distribution of mute swans, and any management techniques used to date, will be investigated. Riparian owners, landowners and farmers will be questioned and a sample of sites with alleged damage will be visited. In addition, a scoping study will be carried out into national and continental experience of swan damage to waterways and associated land, including a literature search of damage reports, claims relating to alleged damage by Bewick’s and Whooper swans, and management techniques attempted. In Phase 2, a more detailed analysis will be made of damage claims on the rivers Itchen, Test, Kennet and Lower Avon and adjacent agricultural land, involving ground-truthing visits to areas of alleged damage and objective damage assessments. A literature study will be conducted into the efficacy of non-lethal control measures, including scaring, and a further project will be designed to investigate the most promising techniques. The problems addressed in this study will contribute to current knowledge of the environmental impact and management of Mute Swans and other swan species during a critical time of population expansion.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1995

To: 1996

Cost: £30,500
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Fields of Study
Wildlife Management