France: Annecy Protects the Animals of Its Lake

Last year saw nine baby swans get drowned in a local Annecy river entering the old city. In a bid to ensure that no more swans would suffer this fate, a floating dam was installed by the city’s mayor. The device that was deployed by the mayor is known as an “anti-drowning” device.

The Outcry

The commissioning and eventual deployment of the antipollution barrage came as a result of the social media outcry that occurred in the past. A group referring to itself as “the association of 30 million friends” shared the images of the dead swans on its social media networks.

Once they were uploaded, the images were seen and shared by hundreds of thousands of social media users in France and around the world. Many bird defenders were appalled by the pictures which depicted baby swans caught in a swirl in the River Thiou. It is one of the many rivers that finds its way into the Old City from Lake Annecy.

Drowning of 9 Baby Swans

Data obtained from the town hall located in Annecy indicates that a total of 9 baby swans were born last year. Unfortunately, they all die after drowning in the river. According to the deputy mayor of Annecy Municipality, the cygnon often find their way into river canals, get caught up in a whirlpool and then end up drowning as they cannot free themselves.

The drowning helped bring together various animal conservationists such as “Fait moi Cygne” (Play on words: litterally “Make a cygne/sign“, “cygne” meaning “swan” but pronouned as “sign”),  who collaborated with the city to come up with a viable solution. The floating dam idea is one that had been under review for a considerable period of time.

After the review process came to an end, a company from Montmelian, Savoie emerged as the contract winner. It presented an idea that involved adapting an anti-pollution dam to construct an anti-drowning dam. All the equipment would need to be custom manufactured before it could be installed. This finally came to pass in the month of June.

The Anti-drowning Dam

Once completed, the anti-drowning dam was immersed up to a depth of forty centimeters. The device also comes with a surface barrier. This barrier has been constructed high enough to ensure that baby swans will not be able to pass through it. Adult swans can, however, be able to pass the surface obstacle without encountering any issues.

In addition to drowning, animal protectionists have also established that delicacies such as bread, pizzas, and fries dumped in rivers are also to blame for the death of some baby swans.

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