Two adult swans and their cygnet received an escort to the Malden River from Malden animal control officials on Wednesday, when they fled the Forest Dale Cemetery after predators likely drove them out.
The adult swans, nicknamed Forest and Dale after the cemetery, had been staying in the area, which features a small man-made pond, for “quite some time,” Malden Animal Control Officer Kevin Alkins said. The adults hatched a group of cygnets at the cemetery, a quiet, cloistered locale, but slowly predators picked off the babies one by one until only one of six remained.
When animal control received a report that the swans were walking across busy city streets, Alkins and licensed wildlife rehabilitator Linda Amato sprang into action, providing the trio safe passage back to the river.
“We were worried about them possibly getting hit by a car or being accosted by people,” Alkins said. “We didn’t want them to be any more stressed than they already were.”
“We just basically followed them along,” Amato said.
On the way from the cemetery to the river, the swans were set to encounter lots of major roads, so Alkins and Amato assisted in blocking traffic to allow the swan family safe passage to the river.
At one point, about three-quarters of the way into the journey to the river, Amato noticed the cygnet becoming tired. She then scooped the baby into a net and carried it the rest of the way, walking backward so its parents could keep their eyes on their child.
By about 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, the swans were safely returned to the river, uninjured.
“They’re all good, they’re all healthy,” Amato said.