Queen asked to help tackle 'Asbo' swan

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The Independent Online

Rowers called today for the Queen to approve the removal of an aggressive swan after it attacked people on the river.

The bird, which was nicknamed Mr Asbo, patrols a 1,600ft stretch of water near to its nest in Fen Ditton, Cambridge, a spokesman from the Cambridgeshire Rowing Association said.

Bill Key, president of the association, said Mr Asbo flapped its huge wings and pecked at rowers and boats which pass through the expanse of water.

A spokesman for the Cam Conservators said they have been in discussions about the removal of the bird.

Her Majesty's Warden of the Swans Professor Chris Perrins, who works in the zoology department at Oxford University, said: "The Crown does not own this bird but it can claim it.

"Before any procedure to remove the bird can start, permission needs to be sought from Her Majesty's Swan Marker, David Barber.

"He advises on behalf of the Crown whether a claim for ownership will be made.

"After this approval is given a licence must be collected from Natural England."

Prof Perrins said the options include relocating the swan or clipping the feathers on one wing to discourage aggressive behaviour by throwing it off balance when it attacks.

Mr Key said that 1,000 local rowers and 2,000 university students use the stretch of water.

"This swan caused untold disruption and injury last year and the same thing is happening again now," said Mr Key.

"There have been dozens and dozens of attacks.

"The cox of my own crew is frightened to go in the water because she received bruising from an attack in the past."