BEND, Ore. (AP) — A trumpeter swan in central Oregon that produced 15 young and was a key part of an effort to repopulate the threatened species has died.
The Bend Bulletin reports that Pete died last week of a bacterial infection. Pete and his mate Eloise had produced their offspring, or cygnets, over the last three years at their home at the Aspen Lakes Golf Course in Sisters.
The cygnets were captured and sent to live in the wild at the Summer Lake Wildlife Area in south-central Oregon that has ideal wetlands for swans. Officials say they’re searching for a new mate for Eloise.
The central Oregon trumpeter swan breeding program suffered an earlier loss in October when another swan was killed at the Sunriver Nature Center. Officials suspect a coyote snuck up on Gracie, whose body was found in thick brush a week after she went missing.
Gracie and her mate, Gus, since 2016 had produced 12 cygnets that all went to live at the Summer Lake Wildlife Area, becoming wild swans. Efforts are also being made to find a new mate for Gus.
“It would be nice to have a couple broods,” said Gary Ivey, a past president of the Trumpeter Swan Society and former biologist at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
He said there are about 35 swans in the state breeding program. He said producing more swans in Oregon could result in them connecting with swans in other Western states. He said there are fewer than 1,000 trumpeter swans in the United States.
He said three wild swan pairs in the Summer Lake area produced young last spring.
“Those are wild-hatched birds that are actually adding to the flock,” Ivey said. “We should be building momentum on that and producing more wild -hatched birds every year.”
Correction: A previous version incorrectly said efforts were being made to find a new mate for trumpeter swan Gracie. The efforts are being made for her former mate, Gus.