THE SANCTUARY Dorothy Beeson is the Swan Sanctuary's founder
and a recipient of the British Empire Medal for her unstinting work in swan welfare, which
started in a back garden in the 1980s. Dot sold her house to help pay the costs of setting
up the present Sanctuary on a 3-acre site at Egham. There are 10 nursing ponds, 4
rehabilitation lakes, an operating theatre, X-ray room, washing room for oiled swans,
intensive care ward, isolation room, and a classroom to teach young people safer fishing
and how to care for the environment. Dot lives on site.
THE VICTIM Swans have few natural
enemies. Unfortunately there is no shortage of unnatural threats. Thousands of them are
attacked, poisoned, shot and injured every year.
THE RESCUE The Swan Sanctuary and
our associate centres around the country are on a 24-hour alert, 365 days a year. When a
'swan in distress' call comes in, the local rescue squad is on their way within minutes.
At the scene they assess the situation, and provide 'front line' emergency treatment. More
seriously injured birds are then rushed to the Sanctuary.
THE TREATMENT Here, after
examination and X-ray, they go into our operating theatre - the only one of its kind in
the country - where a full range of anaesthetic, oxygenation and surgical equipment is
available. After initial treatment, the patient is transferred to the intensive ward and
its condition closely monitored. 3,000 swans and thousands more waterbirds are currently
treated every year.
THE RECOVERY Once the bird regains
fitness, it is placed in one of our outdoor rehabilitation pens. Each swan is placed among
those from the area close to its home territory. Finally, after a lot of care and
attention and plenty of highly nutritious food, our swan is ready for the most satisfying
part of the Sanctuary's work - returning the swan to its natural habitat. Sometimes a
disabled bird is no longer capable of defending its territory and its young. In these
cases we consult our list of 'protected' waters to find the swan a new home where help is
THE FUTURE A new
Environmental Centre is planned for the Swan Sanctuary at Thorpe, Surrey and will be open
in the near future. The new site will enable us to expand our work and will include a
visitor centre and an education unit for schools, universities, conservation groups and
industry. The Swan Sanctuary will fulfil its potential as the national institution for
treatment, scientific education and campaigning on behalf of swans and all wildlife. With
a little help from the public, this need no longer be a dream. Says Dot: "Together we
intend to create a working monument to conservation through co-operation and
The Swan Sanctuary is not government
funded. Rescuing, treating and caring for thousands of swans and other waterfowl would not
be possible without the kind donations of Swan Sanctuary supporters throughout the UK.
Registered charity No. 1002582.