Swan ‘loved by many’ dies at Iowa college, leaving behind companion of nearly 2 decades

·2 min read
Screengrab from Iowa State University video shared on Facebook

An Iowa college is looking for a new swan after half of their iconic swan pair died recently, the school said.

Since 1935, a pair of swans has continually graced Iowa State University’s Lake LaVerne, the school reported. When new swans arrived, the pair always kept the same names – “Lancelot” and “Elaine,” a reference to the lovers in a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

For the last 19 years, Lancelot and Elaine were a female pair of mute swans that lived on the lake.

One of the swans in the duo was found dead on Monday, June 20, the college reported in a news release. Officials believe the swan died of natural causes. Because both of the recent swans were female, “it’s difficult to say which bird died,” the school shared.

Many people expressed their sympathy following the announcement of the swan’s death.

You were loved by many,” one person commented on the Facebook post announcement.

“The one left looks so lonely today,” another person commented.

The lone swan will remain there until university officials decide what to do next, according to the college’s news release. University officials are investigating whether to find one new swan or a new pair.

Chris Strawhacker of the Facilities Planning and Management told Ames Tribune that, “We haven’t considered looking at zoos, but there are swan breeders, private businesses that raise swans for ponds and lakes.”

Unless someone donates a swan or pair of swan, the school will likely look at getting one from a breeder, Strawhacker said.

The current pair of swans was donated by an alumnus, Ames Tribune reported.

The recent female pair of mute swans replaced another pair of male trumpeter swans, the school reported. The trumpeter swans were at Lake LaVerne from 1999 to 2003 when officials removed them due to increasingly aggressive behavior.

One of the trumpeter swans “charged at a lawnmower and consequently needed surgery and physical therapy for a broken leg,” reported Ames Tribune.

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