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The Guardian

New York village’s cherished swan stolen and eaten by three teens

By Oliver Milman in New York,

Manny, one of the beloved swans from the Manlius swan pond, swims in the pond alone without his mate, Faye, Tuesday, May 30, 2023 in Manlius, N.Y. The upstate New York village of Manlius mourning the loss of Faye, a swan who was stolen from the village pond along with her four cygnets. The cygnet, or baby swans, were recovered on Tuesday, but officials say the mama swan was eaten. (Katrina Tulloch/Syracuse Post-Standard via AP) Photograph: Katrina Tulloch/AP

Three teenagers in New York state were arrested for allegedly stealing a swan cherished by its local community before killing and eating the bird.

The disappearance of the well-known swan, called Faye, and her four cygnet offspring on Saturday caused concern in the village of Manlius, in upstate New York.

Local authorities later said Faye was abducted, killed and eaten. Her cygnets survived.

“The mother swan was consumed,” Paul Whorrall, Manlius’s mayor, told the Associated Press on Wednesday. “Sad to say, but that’s what they did.”

Police in Manlius said three suspects, aged between 16 and 18, had been arrested on charges including grand larceny and criminal mischief, after a member of the public saw two of the cygnets in a shop in a nearby town, Salina, where one of the suspects worked.

The other cygnets were recovered, police said, adding that Faye was given to a suspect’s aunt to be cooked and eaten.

Faye and her mate, Manny, were prized fixtures in Manlius, swanning around in the village’s pond and raising their young since being donated to the community in 2010.

The mute swans became emblems of the village, swan logos featuring on its website and merchandise such as T-shirts and hats.

The hunting of swans is legal in several US states but not New York.

The deadly waterfowl heist has shaken a community that has long hosted swans in its pond, according to its mayor.

“The swans have been a part of this village for well over 100 years,” Whorrall said. “We’re known for our swans.”

The four cygnets will be cared for and returned to the pond in a few weeks’ time, when they can fend for themselves, police said.

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