Florida city auctions off 36 swans after Queen’s gift leads to overpopulation

Swans
Swans - (Copyright PA Wire)
19:13pm, Fri 16 Oct 2020
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A city in Florida has raffled off some of its swans, after the gift from the Queen led to overpopulation.

The swans were originally given to Lakeland in the 1950s after a resident living in England wrote to Queen Elizabeth asking if she would donate a pair to the city.

The swans which had been living in the city previously had all been eaten by alligators or dogs.

The swans were auctioned off in pairs - (Copyright PA Wire)

The Queen responded by sending two royal swans from her flock to the city, which arrived on February 7 1957.

However, the pair bread and now more than 86 live in Lakeland.

The city, which has a swan as its symbol, decided to reduce the flock to 50 so they are still able to care for the birds.

Swans were auctioned off in pairs for 400 dollars (£310) each.

A city spokesman told the PA news agency: “We needed to get the population in check for the size of the lake they are on.  We also have a large number of ducks, geese and other waterfowl that call Lake Morton home.”

Because of the popularity of the swans, they held a lottery to decide who would get to purchase a pair. There were 80 registrants, with 18 successful buyers chosen.

The money raised will go back into the city’s swan fund, to help care for the birds.

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