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Cathy Brown, Facilities Planning and Management, (515 ) 294-6001
Dennis Erickson, Facilities Planning and Management, (515) 294-8601
Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720

New swans on a test run of Lake

AMES, Iowa -- A new pair of swans moved onto Iowa State University's Lake LaVerne March 19. An ISU alumnus from Webster City donated the new pair and took in Lake LaVerne's previous swans in residence, one of whom tangled with a lawn mower several months ago.

The swan, Lancelot, broke a leg in late July while chasing a university mower. The swan underwent surgery and months of physical therapy at the College of Veterinary Medicine's Wildlife Care Clinic, but efforts to return him to the lake had been unsuccessful.

"When he got tired of swimming, he crawled up on the ice and just sat," said Cathy Brown of facilities planning and management. "We returned him to therapy and he was making progress. However, we think he'll do better in a private setting than at Lake LaVerne. Lancelot continues to limp and this causes concern to passersby, who think he's in distress."

While the two new swans on the lake are females, they inherit the traditional names of the university's swan duo -- Lancelot and Elaine.

Officials expect the new swans to adapt to the public setting better than the previous pair of male swans. "We anticipate that the female swans will be less territorial," Brown said. Another plus is the new swans' youth.

"They're not quite mature, so we'll have a chance to raise them on the lake, rather than bringing them in when their adult behavior is more established," she added.

Because of their youth, the new swans have a gray-cream color. They'll get their white plumage over the next year, Brown said. The new swans, like their predecessors, are mute swans.

Iowa State experimented with trumpeter swans, which are native to Iowa, from 1995 to 1999. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has been working to re-establish trumpeters in the state.

Trumpeters didn't adapt to Lake LaVerne and the public environment very well. Due to their tendency to wander afar, including the heavily trafficked Lincoln Way, the ISU trumpeters soon had to be fenced.

The less rambunctious mute swans are now back on Lake LaVerne. However, in support of DNR efforts to re-establish the trumpeter in Iowa, university officials have avoided bringing breeding pairs of male and female mute swans to Iowa State.

The first swans arrived at Lake LaVerne in 1935. As part of the Veishea spring celebration, a large swan-shaped float drifted out into the lake and released the swans.


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Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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