Mutilated swan disgusts walker

Dead swan found mutilated at Linlithgow Loch.
Dead swan found mutilated at Linlithgow Loch.

A mutilated mute swan was found dead last week next to the children’s playpark at Linlithgow Peel.

Reader Caroline Foulis was walking around the loch on Thursday last week when she came across the bird lying on the grassed area next to the play area.

She said: “I was absolutely appalled to find such a beautiful bird lying there dead but even more disgusted to see the state of it. It looked as if its neck had been plucked clean.

“Oddly, the rest of the bird was untouched. It’s really weird. I have no idea what could have done this.”

We sent the image to the RSPB’s special protection team at the charity’s Edinburgh HQ.

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s head of investigations, said: “We believe that this was most likely a dog attack, as opposed to a predatory kill.

“But it’s always difficult to come to a definitive conclusion without a post mortem examination of the carcass.

“It is imperative that the public pay particular attention when walking dogs and that they are kept on leads at all times when around nature.

“It’s concerning that if this was, as we suspect, a dog attack, that it has happenedso close to a children’s play area.”

Historic Scotland confirmed that the carcass of the bird was removed by park rangers following a complaint by a member of the public.

A spokesman said: “As a result of that complaint, we have safely removed thecarcass so that children using the play park were not left distressed.

“However, the area in which the swan was found is actually the property of West Lothian Council.”

The carcass has now been passed on to Police Scotland’s wildlife crime officer so that further investigations can be carried out into the cause of the swan’s death.