Royal Swans may soon be on the move
With a declining flock and no place to stay in the winter months, the Royal Swans may soon be on the move.
The city's Community and Protective Services Committee is recommending council gift the Royal Swans to Parc Safari near Montreal to ensure proper care of the aging flock.
The Royal Swans are descendants of the six pairs of mute swans gifted to the city by The Queen in 1967 in celebration of Canada's Centennial.
Ottawa also received a pair of Australian black swans in a trade with the Montreal Zoo in 1974.
The report says there are only 4 Mute swans in the flock now and 20 are needed for a flock to be viable.
A staff report says aging swans and predators on the Rideau River, where they spend their summers, "have affected reproduction and overall flock size."
It says staff have observed nests with eggs but the eggs didn't survive because of predators or swans abandoned them.
A few years ago, the facility on Leitrim Road where the swans spent the winter reached the end of its life cycle and a new facility would cost about $600,000.
A temporary solution was found in 2015 when the city entered into a two-year agreement with Parc Safari to provide a winter home and care to the swans. That agreement was then extended for another two years.
The annual cost for that care at Parc Safari is about $30,000 but the report says transferring the swans back and forth "has put significant stress on the swans" and that making Parc Safari their permanent home would be an opportunity to offer the best care.
Staff also looked at a three to five-year loan agreement that would have allowed the swans to mate in a safe environment while the flock rebuilds but that option would have cost the city about $200,000 over five years. In addition, reintroducing the flock to the Rideau River during the summer months would lead to similar issues experienced in the past, the report says.
The move would save the city about $45,000 a year.
Council is expected to vote on the issue next Wednesday.