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General Information

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Organisation Reference National Convention for the Welfare of Swans and Wildlife
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This information has been provided by the National Convention for the Welfare of Swans and Wildlife and is supplied in its original format.

The National Convention for the Welfare of Swans and Wildlife is an informal organisation comprising swan rescue groups and others with an interest in the subject such as the RSPCA.

The Convention met first in October 1992 at Stratford upon Avon under the chairmanship of Cyril Bennis, a local councillor. Initially, a pattern of annual meetings to discuss issues of mutual concern emerged, but then later, this was changed to ‘twice yearly meetings’. This reflects a growing recognition of the wide range of problems wildlife in general, and swans in particular face in a country dominated by man’s activities.

In order to be able to present reliable statistics on this, one of our early initiatives was to develop a recording system for use by swan rescuers. As we become more experienced the system is updated to enable it to yield more and better information to help us in our communication with authorities.

In the early days we sought to comment on a policy document prepared by the Labour Party – then in opposition – on the subject of angling. Lost and discarded fishing tackle continues to be the cause of about 40% of all the incidents swan rescuers are called on to deal with, and despite the ban in 1987 of the most commonly used lead weights, the number of birds found with high lead levels in their blood is still causing great concern.

For the last three years we have been working hard with the Environment Agency in a research project, the object of which is to develop solutions to the ever present problems caused by angling. The final report on this project should be ready to be published later this year.

The Convention has also offered comments on proposed changes to by-laws governing fishing close seasons.

While there is no doubt angling continues to pose the greatest threat to swans, collisions with overhead power lines also figure large in our statistics. In recognition of this we have included amongst the speakers who are now a regular feature of all our meetings, representatives of electricity transmission companies and manufacturers of equipment which is used quite extensively to divert flying birds away from lines running across their flight paths. In South Wales especially, these diverters have been installed to good effect at a number of locations

Just as we seek to find ways of reducing the number and types of problem swans face, so we continue to stress the importance of monitoring swan casualties, both in terms of what happens to them, but also where it happens. Only in this way can we continue to build our credibility with such organisations and authorities as the Environment Agency, the RSPCA, The Edward Grey Institute for Field Ornithology and the Queen’s Swan Marker.

Dates Referenced August 2001
Contact Details

National Convention for the Welfare of Swans and Wildlife
20 High Cross Drive,
South Wales
NP10 9AB

Tel/Fax: 01633 895241

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