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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 11 November, 2019
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Blood poisoning to blame for death of Grand Canal swans

The 18 mute swans that died in the Grand Canal in the last month all succumbed to septicaemia, official reports say.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

AS MANY AS 18 swans living on the Grand Canal on the south side of Dublin have died in the last month – all of them dying as a result of blood poisoning.

The swans had all been found dead along the canal between February 25 and March 11, just as Waterways Ireland began a ‘dredging’ process to clear the canal of sediment and allow boats to continue passing it.

The dead birds were all removed from a stretch of the canal between the bridges at Portobello and Leeson Street; a further ten were also removed and taken into care by the DSCPA.

The verdict of tests onto the dead birds showed that all of them had died from septicaemia, or blood poisoning, both the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday report.

A number of other significant tests – including tests on avian flu, salmonella and tuberculosis - all proved negative, however.

Waterways Ireland said, however, that the dredging process was not likely to have caused the swans any harm, telling the Sunday Times’ John Mooney that the water had been extracted before any dry material was removed from the canal.

This tactic was meant to ensure that any pollutants did not leach or become distributed in an dangerous way.

Such swans are more commonly killed by lead poisoning, when they eat items like weights dropped by anglers. Tests have ruled out this cause of death in the swans affected, however.

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Gavan Reilly

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