Leytonstone News

Iconic black swan dies from bird flu amid huge outbreak

Bruce, a rare black swan, “passed away peacefully” on the pond
By Victoria Munro

Bruce in Hollow Ponds (credit: Thomas Barry)
Bruce in Hollow Ponds (credit: Thomas Barry)

One of Leytonstone’s most famous feathered residents has passed away from bird flu amid a seemingly unprecedented outbreak of the disease.

Bruce, a rare black swan that lived in Hollow Ponds on Leyton Flats, was confirmed to have “passed away peacefully” yesterday.

Earlier this month, the City of London issued a warning about bird flu in Epping Forest, which extends through the borough.

It said cases of bird flu had been confirmed by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and asked visitors to stay away from birds and report any that look unwell.

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In a tribute to Bruce posted publicly to Facebook, one resident wrote: “He was a fabulous and sassy swan and I know everyone loved him. He will be sadly missed.

“He has been safely removed by the rangers. Fly high, beautiful Bruce.”

Black swans are rare in the UK and it is thought there are little more than 100 breeding pairs nationally.

In a press release issued on 1st November, Ben Murphy, from the City of London Corporation, said: “The UK Health Security Agency has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.

“The UK is facing its largest ever outbreak of bird flu and it is absolutely vital that we work together to help stop the spread.”

Visitors are asked to keep to footpaths, keep their dogs on leads and avoid touching or feeding wild birds – or even their feathers or droppings.

Any dead birds should be reported to the Epping Forest team on 020 8532 1010 so they can be safely removed.

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