THE RSPCA have rescued a family of swans from Bodmin's Priory Park after concerns about their safety.
The development follows a long campaign by swan charity founder Jayne Castling and Gail Glaser, the Bodmin woman who has been feeding the birds for nine years, to have them relocated elsewhere.
There were fears that the swans – a mating pair and their three-month cygnet – were swimming in polluted water and did not have enough natural vegetation to feed on.
The female swan was also believed to be lame, and there wasn't enough room for the birds to fly out of the pond due to high trees.
The RSPCA consulted Natural England and a wild bird expert from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and it was decided to relocate them.
Adult swans are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and can't be moved, but in this case there was an exemption.
The birds were taken by RSPCA officers on Thursday for assessment and monitoring to see if they were fit enough for relocation. On Monday they were released at a private lake elsewhere in the county.
Mrs Castling, 74, is delighted the swans have been relocated after years of campaigning.
"I can't believe it; it's wonderful," she said. "This is absolutely perfect, after so long we finally have the result we wanted.
"That pond is disgusting but now they've gone to a wonderful lake and a lot of people, not just myself and Gail, are going to be so relieved.
"They had a good look around their new lake and were wondering where they were."
Ms Glaser, 61, is equally delighted after battling for nine years to alert authorities of the birds' plight.
"It's just a total relief," Ms Glaser said.
"It's been a long time coming but the only thing that matters is they have the basics of a decent life.
"It was something that should never have happened in the first place but at last we have the best possible outcome."
Bodmin Town Council deputy chief executive Stephen Facer said the decision was taken in the best interests of the health and wellbeing of the swans.
Mr Facer said: "We are pleased to have assisted with the process to relocate the swans which was based on expert advice and guidance from both the RSPCA and the BTO. While I am sure local residents will miss the swans it is hoped that the public can appreciate that action was taken based on a possible health and long-term prognosis perspective.
"The town council would like to thank RSPCA inspector John Phipps and Roger Swinfen from the BTO for their time and expert knowledge."