Swan left to decompose in central Lincoln river

Local resident Shirl Brader thinks the dead swan should be removed, but it has been left to decompose

— Update on Thursday, March 22: The City of Lincoln Council has removed the decomposing body of the swan and will dispose of it.

Caroline Pritchard, Community Services Manager at the City Council, said: “If a dead animal is not causing any public health risk or blocking a waterway, we prefer to leave it and let nature run its course.

“However, in this instance, the body of the swan has caused some public unease, and now that the body has moved to the riverbank, we will dispose of it.”


A dead swan has been left to decompose for almost a month despite concerned residents contacting the RSPCA and the Environment Agency.

The animal is floating and beginning to rot in the River Witham that feeds into Brayford Pool behind Gaunt Street.

An inspector from the RSPCA attended the scene, but as it was clear the bird had died from natural causes and had been dead for several weeks, they were unable to help.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “It is not the RSPCA’s responsibility to remove wild animal carcasses and therefore we would ask people to contact either the local council or the Environment Agency.”

The Environment Agency confirmed they already received reports of the bird but also could not do anything about it.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “It’s always sad to see that a beautiful creature such as a swan has died, but this is part of the natural cycle of life.

“It will allow other creatures and organisms to play their part and complete the swan’s role in the ecology of the river, so as long as it is not causing pollution or a flood risk we will allow nature to take its course.”

Graphic image: the swan left to decompose in the river

The decomposing swan has been floating in the River Witham close to Brayford Pool for almost a month.

Lincoln resident Shirl Brader feels as the bird is close to a well trafficked foot and cycle path leading into the city centre, it should be dealt with.

“Children and parents come by and feed the birds, and its mate for life is probably going backwards and forwards past it so it should be moved,” she explained.

This incident is not related to a swan attack on March 13 which is now being investigated by police.