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Firefighters rescue swan stuck in Elora Gorge

The fire and rescue team got their feet wet in this unique training situation

ELORA – Centre Wellington firefighters doing a rescue in the Grand River is not unheard of during the spring and summer months in Elora, but local first responders had to get a unique subject out of a feathery situation. 

Peggy, a mute swan part of the Elora Swan Program, swam a little too far away from its nest and ended up in the Elora Gorge, requiring some assistance from Centre Wellington Fire and Rescue on Tuesday.

“This is definitely a first,” said Jonathan Karn, CW deputy fire chief, of the rescue subject. 

Karn explained the three Grand River swans usually stay between Bissell Park and the Badley Bridge but some time the previous week two of the three ventured too far down and ended up going over the dam behind the Elora Mill. 

One of these two swans ended up being found dead last week but Peggy was nowhere to be found. 

“It survived but it's gone further down the river, below the dam right where the Irvine and the Grand meet by Lover’s Leap,” Karn said. 

“But the problem is, it couldn’t get back up river back where it’s supposed to be.”

Karn said program volunteers had some ideas to rescue the bird but asked CW Fire and Rescue for assistance which they were happy to provide. 

“It ended up being a good little training session for us, get back in the water and having our staff get into the water rescue suits and into the river,” Karn said. “It was a win for them and a good little session for us as well. It worked out best for both organizations.”

The deputy chief said the rescue wasn’t too difficult because the water isn’t deep and although swans are large and can be aggressive, these ones are a bit more used to people than a wild animal normally is. 

“We were able to sort of corral it into an area and got the net on it and brought it to the shoreline,” Karn said.

From there, program volunteers got Peggy into an animal carrier and took her either back to the enclosure behind the LCBO or brought back to its nest on the Grand River. 

Karn said the swan appeared to be uninjured and all firefighters and volunteers remained unharmed through the rescue as well. 


Keegan Kozolanka

About the Author: Keegan Kozolanka

Keegan Kozolanka is a general assignment reporter for Elora, Fergus and rural Centre Wellington.
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