Rare swans killed

Joseph Bulmer

BENEATH an idyllic lake in West Buckland a killer lurks.

Three weeks ago Paul Ellis bought his prize possession, a pair of rare black necked swans.

“The swans originate from South America. They are the most majestic of swans and I think there are no more than 20 adult pairs in the UK,” said Paul.

“A friend of mine in mid Wales bred them specially for me. I waited for almost a year before bringing them here. In that time we checked and double checked the fencing so that it would be completely secure from foxes or any other common predator.

“They live all their lives on water and my lake seemed a perfect setting for them. But within three days of arrival they had been killed.”

No one knew what the killer was, so Paul left them just off the water’s edge for two nights to see what would come to scavenge them. Nothing did.

That could only mean that the killer lived in the lake, which at one point is almost three metres deep, said Paul.

“After much searching for clues and talking with specialists the answer became clear – we have an otter, or maybe two, in that lake. It means that I can’t keep any swans until they go, whenever that may be.”