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Sad News on Wild Swan Surgery

16 June 2014

Melbourne Zoo is very sad to announce the loss of the wild Black Swan, which arrived here from Southbank on Sunday, June 15.

The swan had swallowed a fishing line and hook, and it was rescued by Water Police and then brought to the Zoo by Wildlife Victoria carers.

Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Sarah Frith performed surgery to remove the hook on Monday, June 16. X-rays showed that the hook was lodged in a very difficult site, near the bird’s heart and lungs, requiring extensive surgery.

The swan showed signs of improvement over the following days, so the Zoo’s Veterinary team became cautiously optimistic about its recovery.

The aim was to release the bird back at Southbank, as it is believed that it may have a mate there.

However, the swan died overnight, and Dr, Frith has just completed a post mortem to determine the cause of death. She found that the swan appeared to have been suffering from a widespread fungal infection called Aspergillosis.

Dr. Frith says that the swan’s injury, treatment, and death are an object lesson in the dangers of fishing gear being discarded or left behind in a setting where wildlife can come into contact with it.