France: Annecy Protects the Animals of Its Lake

France: Annecy Protects the Animals of Its Lake
Getty Images
Getty Images

Nine baby swans drowned in a local Annecy river entering the old city last year. The city’s mayor installed a floating dam in an effort to prevent further swans from meeting this fate. The device utilized by the mayor is referred to as a “anti-drowning device.”

The Outcry

The commissioning and eventual deployment of the antipollution barrage was precipitated by a previous social media outcry. The images of the dead swans were shared on social media networks by a group identifying itself as “the association of 30 million friends.”

Once uploaded, hundreds of thousands of social media users in France and around the world viewed and shared the images. Many bird advocates were appalled by the images depicting baby swans caught in a whirlpool on the Thiou River. It is one of the numerous rivers that flow from Lake Annecy into the Old City.

Drowning of 9 Baby Swans

According to information obtained from the Annecy town hall, nine baby swans were born last year. Tragically, they all drown in the river and perish. According to the deputy mayor of Annecy Municipality, cygnon frequently find their way into river canals, become entangled in a whirlpool, and drown as they are unable to escape.

The drowning brought together animal conservationists such as “Fait moi Cygne” (play on words: literally “Make a cygne/sign”, “cygne” meaning “swan” but pronounced as “sign”), who worked with the city to devise a workable solution. The concept of a floating dam has been under consideration for quite some time.

The contract was awarded to a company from Montmelian, Savoie, following the conclusion of the evaluation process. It proposed modifying an anti-pollution dam in order to construct an anti-drowning dam. Before the equipment could be installed, it would need to be custom-made. This eventually transpired in the month of June.

The Anti-drowning Dam

The anti-drowning dam was submerged to a depth of forty centimeters once it was completed. Additionally, the device features a surface barrier. This barrier has been constructed to a sufficient height to prevent baby swans from passing through it. However, adult swans are able to pass the surface obstruction without difficulty.

In addition to drowning, animal protectionists have determined that the death of some baby swans is also due to the dumping of bread, pizzas, and french fries into rivers.