Swan suffering from lead poisoning rescued from Lake Mendota - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Swan suffering from lead poisoning rescued from Lake Mendota

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Dane County Humane Society Dane County Humane Society

MADISON (WKOW) -- A young swan suffering from lead poisoning was rescued from Lake Mendota on New Year's Eve. Now the Dane County Humane Society is raising money for  its care.

The  bird was rescued by neighbors who had noticed the swan's struggle. Then then they contacted a friend who volunteers at the Dane County Humane Society's Wildlife Center. Wildlife staff then went out to rescue the swan.

"She was all by herself just south of the landing about a quarter mile out. It looked extremely unnatural. The tundra swan, usually in a flock, was by herself, staying in one place, while the wind swirled around her. It looked like she would freeze to death," according to a humane society news release.

The was visibly weak when captured and put up little struggle. 

The young swan has extremely high levels of lead in her bloodstream, according to a news release.

Her lead levels are so high that our onsite tests registered an error, so samples had to be sent out to a lab for confirmation. X-rays soon revealed a foreign object resembling fishing tackle stuck in her stomach, which is likely the source of her high lead levels. Unless removed, this swan will soon succumb to lead poisoning.

Dr. Doss and the UW Veterinary Care's Special Species Service have been consulted about this swan's care. They have offered to endoscopically remove the foreign body from her stomach and perform a CT scan to rule out a dangerous fungal disease called aspergillosis at a significant discount. Following that procedure, the swan will require extended treatment for lead poisoning by DCHS Wildlife Center staff and volunteers.

This is the second bird in just a week that has come into the Wildlife Center suffering from severe lead poisoning, according to the humane society.

The first bird, a bald eagle, did not survive. The biggest environmental lead risk to wildlife is from ingestion of spent lead shot, fishing sinkers, jigs and other tackle, or through consumption of wounded or dead prey containing lead shot, bullets or fragments. Help may have come too late for the bald eagle in our care earlier this week, but we may still have time to save the life of this young swan.

The Dane County Humane Society says they need to raise $1,710 for the birds care.

Donate at www.giveshelter.org/swan.html or drop off your donation at Dane County Humane Society's main shelter (5132 Voges Road, Madison, WI 53718), with "Swan" in the subject line.

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