Birds returned to wild after Thetford diesel spill

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Geese, swans and cygnets rescued from a diesel spill in the Little Ouse and Thet rivers in Thetford last month have been nursed back to health at an RSPCA wildlife centre and released back to the wild.

Nine Canada geese, ten adult swans and six cygnets were rescued from the Little Ouse and Thet rivers.

The birds had become covered in oil after someone broke into a commercial premises and damaged a diesel container when they were disturbed.

That caused thousands of litres of fuel to spill out into the rivers.

The birds were taken to East Winch Wildlife Centre near Kings Lynn, where they were washed and given veterinary treatment.

Sadly one of the geese and four of the cygnets died from diesel ingestion.

But the remaing birds – 10 swans, eight geese and two cygnets have now been returned to the wild.

Alison Charles, manager at East Winch, said: “Diesel does so much damage to birds so it is fantastic that most of them recovered and we were able to get them back out into the wild where they belong.

“But it was also incredibly sad seeing the tiny little cygnets covered in diesel, and that four of these lovely little fellas didn’t make it.

“In all the years I have washed oiled birds I have never had to wash fluffy cygnets. They were bedraggled and looked very sick when they arrived as they must have been trying to preen the oil off their feathers and ingested some of it.

“It is great to have been able to help these birds recover and return them to the wild fit and healthy”