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Organisational Overviews: Swan Sanctuary
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 on hand.
THE FUTURE A new Environmental Centre is planned for the Swan Sanctuary, to open in the year 2000 at Thorpe, Surrey. 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 education".
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.
If you see a swan in distress please call the Swan Helpline, telling us exactly where and when you saw the swan. 07000 SWAN UK or 01784 431667.
The Swan Sanctuary
Registered Charity No. 1002582
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