Crimes like this are the reason why the country of Denmark has been teaching empathy in school since 1993.  Children need to be taught to feel, to empathize, and to understand at that impressionable age the difference between good and evil.
Late last month, a mother swan in Bolton, Manchester was reported to have died from a broken heart after a pack of teenagers killed her unhatched cygnets by hurling stones and bricks at them.  She’d been nesting at the Manchester Canal in Kearsley when the youngsters came after her. She was defenseless against them and watched five out of her six babies be crushed to death.
A week after the incident, as reported by Manchester Evening News, the mother was found dead, and according got a wildlife enthusiast who had been monitoring her, she died of a broken heart.
Witnesses also said the teenagers had started the attack on May 20, and they’d been aiming directly for this island where the swan was nesting. They ended up killing three of her babies, and in the weeks that followed, two more were killed. She was left with only one egg and the stressful environment caused the father swan to abandon her and move away. She was also regularly harassed by a dog, a duck, and a moorhen. Shortly after the tragedy, she passed away from a suspected broken heart.
Swans are strongly empathetic
Swan ‘dies from a broken heart’ after teenage yobs killed her unborn cygnets https://t.co/YvZrmFhPvO— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) June 21, 2020
In most cases, swans mate for life.  Swan Sanctuary explains that the loss of a partner is usually handled by the swan moving off to another water stretch or joining another flock. However, in some cases, the grief could be overwhelming and the swan would eventually die from a broken heart.
This poor mother swan was not only mourning the loss of her babies, but she was also dealing with abandonment from her mate.
Activist Sam Woodrow said: “There’s not much I can say really. She probably died of a broken heart as she had a partner for life and he was driven away by stress.”
The wildlife enthusiast who monitored her, Michael Mason posted on Facebook: “Her mate left her on her own and sadly I was informed this morning she was found slumped in her nest dead. I just feel like crying.”
Swans are government-protected and the crime is being investigated
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has launched an investigation into the matter and is working to bring the perpetrators to justice. According to a statement from a representative: “We are investigating the previous distressing incident and we would urge anyone with information to contact our appeals line on 0300 123 8018. Swans, their nests and their eggs are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.”
In the second week of June, a swan and her three cygnets were killed by teenagers armed with catapults.  As posted on a Facebook page, The Only Way is Cricklade, the teenagers may have murdered other swans as well.
“We have had some awful reports of teenagers with catapults attacking swans. One witness advised us that they killed three cygnets and a mother swan last night. They may have killed others as well. This is awful news. A cash reward has been offered for information that leads to a conviction.”
In another horrifying swan cruelty case, the Met Police are searching for a London jogger who deliberately kicked a cygnet out his way in Richmond Park on June 8.  The poor thing was taken to a Sanctuary in Surrey where it died two days later from brain damage. Witnesses say the culprit is a white male in his 60s, and at the time of the incident, he was wearing black running shorts and a top with a logo insignia.
Swans are beautiful birds who deserve to be treated with love and respect, as do all other animals in our environment.
- “Why Danish Schools Train Kids in Empathy.” Thrive Global. Serena Bian. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
- “Swan ‘dies from a broken heart’ after yobs smash up her nest with bricks.” Cambridge News. Thomas Molloy, Paige Oldfield, Nisha Mal. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
- “The Truth About Swans.” BBC. Louis Crane. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
- “Swan and cygnets shot dead ‘with catapult’ in Cricklade.” BBC. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
- “Newborn cygnet dies after being ‘deliberately’ kicked by jogger in London park. Independent. Matt Mathers. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
- “Swan whose nest was smashed up by vandals with bricks ‘dies from a broken heart’. Manchester Evening News. Retrieved July 7, 2020.