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Environment

Determined Fort Liard resident rescues injured swan


She's known for helping Fort Liard's local dogs. This week, her friends asked if she would try her hand at swans.

For Laura Diamond-C, it was an unusual rescue, tracking the swan – with an injured wing – through the community before finally bundling it into her bedroom to give it some peace and quiet.

And for the swan, it was an especially rough week.

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Fort Liard residents had enjoyed watching the beautiful swans on Hay Lake, a local lake just north of the community, until something appeared to go wrong.

"My friend was walking her dog around the lake at Hay Lake campgrounds and she said she thought the swan was frozen into the lake," Diamond-C recalled.

She was this great, big, huge thing in my bedroom.

LAURA DIAMOND-C

"So the next day, we bundled up and went out there and checked it out. Sure enough, it looked like there was a swan stuck in the ice."

Diamond-C and her husband paddled out to free the swan, which duly flew away.

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However, days later, when all the other swans had left the area as colder weather settled in, one swan remained behind. And Diamond-C, known for her work with stray dogs, began getting calls.

"Everybody contacts me because I rescue dogs and everything," she said. (In January 2018, she was reported to have sent more than 130 dogs from the community to the NWT SPCA shelter in Yellowknife.)

"They figured I can rescue swans and whatever else."

Diamond-C went back up to Hay Lake and left some food. As soon as she got home, there was another phone call: the swan was walking into town.

"We jumped back in the car," said Diamond-C, "and of course, white swan, white snow... we were trying to find out where it was. Then we saw it trucking down the ditch toward town."

The swan, an adult, would occasionally attempt flight and move out of sight. Then someone would catch a glimpse. It took a side road. They followed. It doubled back. They swung around.

The pursuit lasted for some time.

'Alive, happy, and frisky'

Eventually – as a photo attests – Diamond-C got the rather large swan in her arms and carried it up the steps to her home. (The swan's gender was still unclear when Cabin Radio spoke to Diamond-C. She thinks it was probably female.)

"We brought it home and put it in a room. I tried to secure it enough that it wouldn't hurt itself and could rest," said Diamond-C.

"We gave her water, and food, and darkness. In the morning she was alive and happy and frisky and had broken out of all her restraints that I had on her.

"And she was this great, big, huge thing in my bedroom."

Laura Diamond-C took this photo of the swan inside her home.

By that time, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources had been alerted. She thawed frozen vegetables and left them out, with kale and lettuce, as food.

The swan appeared to have damage to one wing, which Diamond-C treated as best she could. The wound had not stopped the swan flying for short periods, and had certainly not dampened its spirit.

"She knocked over everything in the bedroom," said Diamond-C.

As of Saturday evening, the swan was preparing for a trip with a wildlife officer to Fort Simpson, where Diamond-C was told a wildlife vet would be in town to conduct a more thorough examination. After that, Yellowknife may be the swan's next destination.

"At least she's going to survive and I'm sure she'll meet up with her mate again," said Diamond-C. "She might even continue on her way."

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