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THE SWAN FAMILY

A sad little drama is being played out in the background of this photograph. Between the reed which is hanging down just above the cygnet's head, and the netting on the right, you can see the light grey shape of a pigeon. And on the orange coloured rock just above it, the dark shape of a mink which was killing it. It took several minutes for the pigeon to die, and every time the mink bit it, it screamed with pain.

It is an environmental disaster that mink have been introduced into the wild in the United Kingdom. They are savage predators, much larger than our native stoats and weasels, and are brutally killing native birds and small animals. They do not occur naturally in this country, and their presence is entirely due to thoughtless or malicious human action. They are becoming so widespread that it is now virtually impossible to control or eliminate them, and this scene with the pigeon is repeated hundreds of times every day in the areas where they have taken hold.

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