It all started more than half a century ago, when a Lakeland woman wrote to the Queen to ask her for a pair of swans for her town.
A group of 36 swans were sold by the city.
PETER STEFFEN / AFP / Getty Images
It all began more than half a century ago, when a woman from Lakeland, Florida, wrote to Queen Elizabeth II to ask for a pair of swans for her city on the other side of the Atlantic.
Lakeland had had swans since at least 1923, according to local government data, but + by 1953 they had all been eaten by alligators or dog prey.
Hence, the woman who lived in the United Kingdom at the time wanted to bring some from the other side of the Atlantic to repopulate her hometown …
The royal swans crossed the pond and multiplied on that side of the world like loaves and fishes: they soon became the symbol of the city and there are already so many that the local government announced this week that it would put them up for sale as a way to control overpopulation.
“It will be difficult to say goodbye,” he told the newspaper. Lakeland ledger Parks and Recreation Supervisor Steve Platt, known as “The Father of Swans.”
According to the newspaper, the city conducted a “wellness check” on the entire flock before putting them up for sale and the proceeds will go toward its $ 10,000 annual feed budget.
The Lakeland government is charging $ 400 per swan and the buyers, who were chosen through a lottery, were contacted Friday to arrange the pickup.
All swans live around Lake Morton in the city of 112,000 people, about 35 miles east of Tampa.
What is the history of swans?
According to historians, a woman who lived in England while her husband was stationed there for the United States Air Force wrote to Buckingham Palace asking the Queen for a donation from her royal flock.
Elizabeth II agreed… but Floridians had to raise $ 300 to safely capture and import the breeding pair.
The transport was not without its adventures: after the swans were captured and waited for transfer, a barge sank in London’s River Thames and they were covered in oil, delaying their journey.
After they were cleaned, they were successfully delivered to Lakeland on February 9, 1957.
But a week later they were missing, prompting a frantic helicopter search before they were rediscovered.
There have been other swans sales that took place previously in 2014 and 2011. Anyone who lives near the lake can enter the lottery.
Most swans in Britain are technically owned by the monarchy.
Until 1998 it was considered treason to kill one. One of the Queen’s royal titles, as well as Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith and Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces, is Lady of the Swans.
Mute swans, which are the type for sale, are identified by their “deep red beak and jet black legs,” the city said, and are the descendants of Elizabeth II’s royal flock.
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