Aww!
Man calms distressed, injured swan with a cuddle and gets a beautiful ‘thank you’ in return
This swan's beautiful 'thank you' to its rescuer melted thousands of hearts online. ❤️
D.G. Sciortino
09.12.22

Wild swans don’t need you in their space. They are best admired from afar.

Experts say that it isn’t wise to get too close.

“On one hand, everyone says they’re very beautiful animals,” Richard Wiese, “Born to Explore” television show host, told ABCNews.com.

“But on the other hand, when people have been around them, they can be vicious. Wild swans can peck the heck out of you.”

But that wasn’t the case when Wiese got up close and personal with some swans in Abbotsbury Swannery.

Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset, England is home to the largest colony of nesting mute swans in the world.

Wiese was joined by members of the Regal Swan Foundation and Swan Lifeline which are organizations that work to rehabilitate injured birds. Wiese was able to get very close to the swans.

When I put it next to me I could feel its heart beating and it just relaxed its neck and wrapped it around mine,” Wiese said. “It’s a wonderful moment when an animal totally trusts you.”

Wiese ended up posting a picture of the moment on Facebook where it was like more than 2,000 times.

“When we post things we usually get around five to 10 comments. But just in the last in the three days, probably 20,000 people have looked at this picture,” he said. “There’s something that’s obviously touched people.”

The swan Wiese was pictured with had been injured after flying into a chain link fence.

Wiese helped the animal get comfortable so that it could be transported.

The swan didn’t exactly willingly just decide to go up and cuddle Wiese as the photo might have you believe.

“Like anything else, you have to be familiar with animals, really clued in to things like when you meet a dog you’ve never met,” said Wiese. “I grabbed it, had one arm over its wings and the other at the base of its neck. I pulled it to my chest, and somehow it felt comfortable or safe, and within minutes it just surrendered itself. It literally took its neck and wrapped it around mine.”

Wiese’s forceful cuddling technique apparently worked to calm the swan down so it could be taken for medical care.

“I could feel its chest beating against mine. To fully experience it, I felt like I wanted to close my eyes and isolate myself for the moment. It’s a really terrific feeling when you feel that bond and mutual trust with this non-verbally communicating animal, when the animal realizes you intend it no harm.”

He is also seen in photos grasping a swan that was rehabilitated and being released back into the wild.

Many people on Born to Explore’s Facebook page thanked Wiese for helping the injured swan.

“I do a lot of volunteer wildlife rescues, and it is so touching to witness the moment when a prey animal like a swan or other (non-raptor) bird realizes that we are not a threat and are there in fact to help them,” said one commenter

“Even the most aggressive animals can show kindness,” said another.

“Aggression is an emotion and shows that the animal is thinking and reacting and is always a good sign. Animals that are not aggressive do not usually express a lot of mental capability but swans are very smart for avians and like any smart animal, if they are desperate for help they will accept human aid if the human is not threatening,” and another.

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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