The last two of Spokane’s Manito Park swans were killed Friday after apparently being struck by a vehicle along a narrow road adjacent to the park’s duck pond.
A witness said he spotted one of the dead swans at 6 a.m. about 5 feet from the road with a broken wing and neck. Feathers along the road indicated that a vehicle struck the graceful bird near the southwest end of the pond.
“Somebody definitely hit them,” said Dr. Bob Lutz, who was jogging when he saw the dead swan. “I hope it wasn’t intentional.”
He said the other swan was swimming in the pond at 6 a.m.
That swan was taken to Ponti Animal Clinic in Otis Orchards for treatment, and later put down because its injuries were severe, said Taylor Bressler, park maintenance manager.
Bressler said he believes the swans were not killed accidentally.
“They were just run down,” he said. One of the birds was dragged under a car for some distance, and its feathers were ripped from its skin.
Parks officials have no plans to replace the mute swans. “We are out of the swan business,” Bressler said.
The two males, which had not been named, were the last of a brood of three cygnets hatched in 2000 at the duck pond. They were the offspring of Helen and Philip, which were named after benefactors who donated the mated pair to the park in the mid-1990s.
Their deaths were at least the sixth violent incident involving the swans at the park. Helen was killed in 2001, and her mate, Philip, was injured last February. Philip died at a private home last fall. Another one of their offspring was also run over by a motorist and killed in 2004. In 2002, one of the swans was kidnapped and dumped in the Spokane River. It was found and returned to the park. A baby swan was killed in 1989.
It was not immediately known if the dead swans were victims in any of the previous incidents. Mute swans are generally not afraid of humans and can be approached.
Lutz said that too many motorists are using the park’s roadways as a thoroughfare between Grand Boulevard and Bernard Street.
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