FEARS for a lone swan on icy Pells Pond in Lewes have led to numerous calls being made to wildlife rescuers.
East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) said it had been called to the site nearly 30 times during last week’s cold spell.
Trevor Weeks said callers had said the swan was stuck in the ice and had been sitting in the same position for hours.
WRAS has sent ambulances out up to three times a day due to the level of concern which members of the public have had over the swan being trapped.
“I have been out numerous times as well as several of my colleagues and every time we have attended the swan has not been stuck,” said Mr Weeks, founder of East Sussex WRAS.
Most calls have been reporting the swan to have a leg stuck in the ice. “People have been saying they can only see one leg and that the other leg must be trapped in the ice, as the swan is not moving. The leg is actually tucked up under their feathers to keep warm,” he said.
He continued: “Swans do not move around the ice much if they don’t have to, in order to keep warm. Their body temperature will cause the ice to become smooth and difficult for them to stand and as falling on their keel bone is quite painful, some swans are reluctant to stand on ice unless they have to.
“In more than 25 years of undertaking wildlife rescue work, I have never come across a swan properly stuck in ice, it very rarely happens.
“We have no option but to respond to these calls. It is nice to see so many caring people being so concerned for the swan, but it is turning into a ‘cry wolf’ situation. We respond because we would feel so guilty if the rare event actually happened and the swan did develop problems.”
The average cost of responding to a single call-out is £65.