20 Jul ‘Massive character’: Pickles, the UK’s oldest swan, dies aged 30 | UK News
A swan believed to be the UK’s oldest has died at the age of 30.
Pickles the whooper swan, or common swan, was described as a “massive character”.
He was born in early June 1991, although his precise hatching date is unknown.
Staff at Leeds Castle in Kent, where he was often seen on the moat, designated 3 June as Pickles Day, serving him a special swan-friendly cake last month.
He had been there since 2013.
There are 19 captive-bred swans in the grounds of the castle, including mute swans, trumpeter swans and black swans.
“Fly high, Pickles, fly high,” the castle tweeted. “Pickles was much loved by everyone. We celebrated (his) birthday with his favourite seed cake recently and he enjoyed the media attention he got!”
Whooper swans, which can grow to 5ft 3in (160cm) in length, generally live to about 10 in the wild, but have previously been known to reach their late 20s in captivity.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Pickles the swan, who passed away yesterday,” said Mark Brattle, the castle’s falconry and wildlife manager.
“Pickles the whooper swan was a massive character at the castle and will be missed by staff and visitors alike.
“The falconry and wildlife team would like to thank everyone for their kind words of support.”